In 2012, David Nieland, head of the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s Miami office, was assigned to evaluate the Secret Service’s response to a scandalous presidential trip to Colombia during which a number of agents patronized Colombian prostitutes.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for carrying out a sensitive, high-profile investigation of a prostitution scandal:
- Don’t accuse your superiors of covering up the White House’s involvement in the scandal, then contradict yourself during an internal review of your allegation, then get suspended for circulating photographs of an intern’s feet, then get caught by Florida police leaving a brothel and making up a story about a nonexistent human trafficking investigation to explain why you were there.
Unfortunately, Nieland may have done all of those things. His contradictory allegations about the White House’s involvement in the scandal had been previously reported; what hadn’t been known publicly until Tuesday night’s New York Times report about his August resignation was that he was confronted by Florida police in May of this year after they saw him leaving a brothel. From the Times:
Sheriff’s deputies in Broward County, Fla., saw David Nieland, the investigator, entering and leaving a building they had under surveillance as part of a prostitution investigation, according to officials briefed on the investigation. They later interviewed a prostitute who identified Mr. Nieland in a photograph and said he had paid her for sex.
Mr. Nieland resigned after he refused to answer a series of questions from the Department of Homeland Security inspector general about the incident, the officials said.
When Nieland was stopped by police, he told them he was investigating a DHS human trafficking case, the Times says—then told officials at DHS that Broward police had stopped him because of a broken tail light. Unfortunately, this teen sleepover ruse failed when the Broward sheriff’s department’s mom called the Department of Homeland Security’s mom, and Nieland resigned. (He denied to the Times that he paid a prostitute for sex.)
This also happened:
In 2013, according to department officials, Mr. Nieland accused the inspector general’s office of retaliating against him for making [White House coverup] allegations when it suspended him for two weeks without pay after he circulated photographs that he had taken of a female intern’s feet.
The intern asked to be transferred out of the office after the incident.
When this is the second-most embarrassing section of a New York Times story about you, you have probably not done a great job leading the Department of Homeland Security’s Miami office.