Sen. Grassley requests info on chemical facility security program

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently requested information from Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, regarding allegations of spending abuse and mismanagement by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program.

The CFATS program was instituted in 2007 to find risk factors for chemical facilities and assess and mandate high-risk facility security plans. Grassley first requested info from Napolitano in April after a report was released detailing severe CFATS issues.

"Serious claims have been made about the operation of this program," Grassley said. "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."

After Napolitano appeared before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, a whistleblower gave additional details about the way the DHS managed the program. Allegations include CFATS assigning employees to field offices that didn't exist and letting employees work from home while claiming the employees worked in phantom field offices for the program. Grassley alleged that the employees were able to receive higher pay by claiming to work from duty stations in high locality-pay areas.

CFATS also allegedly obtained tactical and field equipment it did not need.