March 17, 2016
Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing raising bipartisan concerns about the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) waste, abuse and incompetence concerning its law enforcement records system. Since 2003, DOI has spent over $50 million in federal funds on a database that is still not fully functional.
DOI began the process of implementing the Incident Management Analysis and Reporting System (IMARS) in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over a decade later, DOI has failed to adopt a functional law enforcement records management system that meets the needs of the Department and its bureaus. For years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has refused to implement IMARS, preferring its own legacy database, and has withheld funding from the IMARS program.
The Department’s most senior leaders have allowed this impasse between DOI and FWS to go unresolved for years, while pumping tens of millions in taxpayer dollars into an outmoded and cumbersome database.
DOI has also shrugged off serious concerns about the mismanagement of the program, including the fact that the individual who was in charge of implementing IMARS from 2008-2013 resigned after his falsified educational qualifications were exposed.
Harry Humbert, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services, testified on behalf of DOI. The Department refused to allow a witness from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to testify.
“With the many years in development and millions poured into the program, we are left to conclude that this is government incompetence rivaled only by the rollout of the Obamacare website. This is government waste, fraud and abuse to the extreme, and has the potential to handcuff law enforcement and cause even deeper divisions that IMARS was supposed to solve,” Subcommittee Chairman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) questioned Humbert about the Department’s actions following the resignation of the IMARS project manager who lied about his educational background.
“The person in charge of IMARS, the Department’s law enforcement database, was a fraud whose qualifications for the job were entirely fabricated. What did DOI do after he left to ensure that the system was not otherwise compromised?” Labrador asked.
Humbert responded, “I don’t believe that there was anything to be reviewed at that point, sir.”
to view the hearing memo.