By ROHAIL PREMJEE and BRYAN RAHIJA
Earlier this week, President Obama announced the nomination of Roslyn A. Mazer for Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This position has been vacant since March 1 of this year, when former DHS IG Richard Skinner retired.
Mazer currently holds the position of Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She previously worked for seven years as counsel at the Oversight & Review Division of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
As Steven Aftergood, Director of the Federation of American Scientist’s Project on Government Secrecy noted in 2009, Mazer has a strong track record when it comes to tackling overclassification:
[F]rom 1996 to 2000 Ms. Mazer was the first chair of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), which is among the most successful classification reform initiatives of the last half century.
Under Ms. Mazer’s leadership from 1996 to 2000, the ISCAP declassified information in an astounding 80% of the documents that were presented for its review. In fact, Ms. Mazer’s ISCAP was so successful in overturning spurious classification claims that the Central Intelligence Agency begged for relief from ISCAP jurisdiction.
While we are pleased that the White House has moved to fill the DHS IG opening, it’s important to note that several other key watchdog positions remain unfilled. Vacancies include the Inspectors General for the Justice Department as well as the State Department, for which, astonishingly, there has not been a permanent leader for over three and a half years. Additionally, there is still no permanent leader at the office of the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Here’s hoping the Obama administration takes action to fill these other vacancies with aggressive, independent nominees soon.
Rohail Premjee is a POGO intern. Bryan Rahija edits POGO's blog.