By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
While Cadman didn't personally direct the conspiracy to deceive the task force (that job was left to his deputy, Valerie Blake), he did "sit by and allow the deception to occur," Bromwich wrote. "Moreover, and perhaps most troubling, Cadman was a willing participant in efforts to mislead INS headquarters and then to mislead and delay the investigation into this matter."
Justice officials found that Cadman had presided over meetings in which the conspiracy was planned. On the day of the visit, Cadman, reportedly red-faced with anger, threatened to arrest two INS inspectors who tried to alert the representatives about the deception. Cadman even called airport police.
Cadman's coverup efforts began after the OIG started its investigation. "Cadman did not deny that large numbers of aliens had been transferred and released from Krome," Bromwich wrote in his report. "However, Cadman essentially represented that all alien movements were normal in light of Krome's overcrowded condition." That explanation, the OIG determined, wasn't true.
Rather than cooperate with investigators, Cadman forced the Justice Department to obtain subpoenas to gain access to his computer files. When the OIG finally inspected Cadman's computer, all his e-mails relating to the delegation's visit had been deleted. According to the report: "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."
In an expensive and time-consuming process, investigators were eventually able to locate 61 messages that had been sent or received by Cadman regarding the congressional visit, many of which helped the OIG prove that the officials had purposefully deceived Congress.
"On the basis of 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," the OIG concluded. "Should he not be terminated, we urge his reassignment ... to a position where he would not have significant managerial responsibilities."
After Cadman's removal from Miami, he virtually disappeared into the INS bureaucracy. Then on March 4, 1997, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) held hearings on the matter, trying to find out how Cadman and his cohorts were punished. Rogers grilled then-Attorney General Janet Reno: Rogers: I need to know what happened to the people. Let's get to the bottom line here. What happened to the people that misled the Congress? Name the names, and where are they now?
Reno: Dan Cadman elected a voluntary demotion to GS-15, criminal investigator in headquarters ops.
Rogers: Where is he now?
Reno: I cannot tell you precisely.
Rogers: Is he still working?
Reno: He accepted a voluntary demotion, sir, so I would assume he is still working.
Rogers: He's a Justice Department official, correct?
Reno: So far as I know, sir.
Rogers: He misled the Congress, still works for the Justice Department. Who else?
When Reno told Rogers that Cadman and other Kromegate officials went through a legal process to maintain their jobs, Rogers shot back: "We want to protect their rights. I'm also protective of the people's right to have truthful federal employees reporting truthfully to their people's representatives. And when they lie to the Congress ... and they maintain their employment with the Justice Department, people have a right to be suspect.... How can we make policy when our own officials are misleading the people like that?"
Roughly a year later, in 1998, INS promoted Cadman to head the newly formed National Security Unit. "This is a case where truth is stranger than fiction," says Representative Gallegly. "And I think this explains in some way what is wrong with INS."
If Gallegly wants more evidence of problems within the INS, he might consider the case of Mary Schneider. More than two years before the September 11 attacks, Schneider, a seasoned immigration officer, vehemently complained that Islamic visitors who were possible terrorists were moving into the Orlando area. She told Immigration and Naturalization Service officials that hundreds of aliens, some of whom she suspected were tied to Osama bin Laden, were illegally gaining residence. She further alleged that several INS supervisors had accepted bribes in return for allowing those aliens to remain in the country.
Rather than thoroughly investigate Schneider's complaints, the INS began a campaign of retaliation against the 21-year immigration employee that nearly led to her termination, says David Ross, the Los Angeles-based attorney who represented her. The agency painted her as prejudiced against Muslims and charged her with insubordination and other administrative offenses, Ross alleges.
Schneider, who works as an adjudications officer at the INS and is responsible for determining whether visitors can become permanent U.S. residents, filed last year as a whistleblower with the federal Merit System Protection Board. During MSPB hearings on the matter, the board ruled in Schneider's favor, "which means that from now on and forever, if they take action against her, it will be presumed they are retaliating against her," Ross says, adding that the MSPB "blew the INS out of the water." The immigration service is appealing the MSPB's ruling.