Friday, April 13, 2007

DPS: Open criminal case data given to Northrop Grunman, never received back

A critical exchange occurred this afternoon at the House State Affairs Committee regarding Chairman David Swinford's beleaguered HB 13 (most of the day's speakers came out against it - Grits discussed the bill here). Following up on Jake Bernstein's Texas Observer story about "The Governor's Database," which was a big subject of discussion for most of the day, Rep. Rick Noriega asked Kent Mayer, the Chief of DPS' Criminal Law Enforcement Division, point blank:

Did DPS hand over data about open investigations to a private company (Northrop Grunman)?

"Yes" was the answer.

Noriega then asked whether Mayer knew if information given to Northrop Grunman was either destroyed or received back by the agency?

"No sir," came the answer, not to his knowledge.

That's an important revelation, since the Observer reported that Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw, who authorized the contract on behalf of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management,
insists that the data DPS gave Northrop Grumman were eventually returned. Extensive public records requests have not revealed any documentation to that effect.
What's more, McCraw told the committee earlier in the day that only information from closed cases was given to the company. That wasn't true. So Noriega successfully nailed down two key claims by the Governor's Homeland Security Director that appear demonstrably false - the information DID include open criminal case information, and DPS has NOT received either the data back nor evidence that it was destroyed.

UPDATE: See related MSM and blog coverage:


Mariamariacuchita said...

Grea information...I love reading your legislative compilation too.

Anonymous said...

You might not know, but I'm wondering....Did TDEX start under McGraw or Kimbrough as Homeland Security Director?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Good question, I don't know. From the discussion yesterday it sounded like it was probably McCraw.

It did occur to me that if DPS gave TDEX information about all its OPEN cases last year, that McCraw would have had access to the unpursued TYC investigations through that system. I wonder what the 7,000 people using it are doing with the information? Obviously not looking out for stuff like the TYC scandal.

John D. McLauchlan said...

Somehow the idea of Rick Perry as my "Big Brother" only adds to my sense of existential ennui.