Last Updated:September 2 @ 11:33 am

ICE chief of staff resigns amid misconduct claims

By Alicia A. Caldwell and Eileen Sullivan

WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior Obama administration political appointee and longtime aide to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano resigned Saturday amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior lodged by at least three Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.

Suzanne Barr, chief of staff to ICE Director John Morton, said in her resignation letter that the allegations against her are "unfounded." But she said she was stepping down anyway to end distractions within the agency. ICE, a division of the Homeland Security Department, confirmed Barr had resigned. The Associated Press obtained a copy of Barr's letter.

Barr is accused of sexually inappropriate behavior toward employees. The complaints are related to a sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a senior ICE agent in May.

In her letter to Morton, Barr said she has been the subject of "unfounded allegations designed to destroy my reputation" and is resigning "with great regret."

"Of greater concern however, is the threat these allegations represent to the reputation of this agency and the men and women who proudly serve their country by advancing ICE's mission," Barr wrote. "As such, I feel it is incumbent upon me to take every step necessary to prevent further harm to the agency and to prevent this from further distracting from our critical work."

Barr went on leave last month after the New York Post reported on the lawsuit filed by James T. Hayes Jr., ICE's special agent in charge in New York. Additional employees came forward with their allegations around the same time.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a statement Saturday that Barr's resignation "raises the most serious questions about management practices and personnel policies at the Department of Homeland Security." He said his committee will continue to review the case and personnel practices at DHS.

In one complaint, Barr is accused of telling a male subordinate he was "sexy" and asking a personal question about his anatomy during an office party. In a separate complaint, she is accused of offering to perform a sex act with a male subordinate during a business trip in Bogota, Colombia. She's also accused of calling a male subordinate from her hotel room and offering to perform a sex act. The names of two of Barr's accusers were censored in affidavits reviewed by AP.

Homeland Security's office of professional responsibility and inspector general have been investigating the allegations.

Prior to the lawsuit, there were no complaints about Barr, according to a homeland security official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

In the lawsuit, Hayes described a "frat house" atmosphere at ICE designed to humiliate male employees under Barr's leadership. Hayes, who was transferred to New York from ICE headquarters in Washington, is asking for more than $4 million that, among other things, would cover compensation he believes he is owed for relocation expenses and financial losses associated with his transfer.

Hayes' lawyer, Morris Fischer of Silver Spring, Md., has declined to comment.

The Justice Department is seeking to dismiss Hayes' lawsuit on the basis that he did not state a claim for retaliation.

Barr, a 1995 graduate of the University of Arizona, was among Napolitano's first appointments after she became secretary in 2009. Barr started working for Napolitano in 2004, while Napolitano was governor of Arizona. Prior to that, Barr worked for Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain.

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24 Comments

  1. mcrankComment by mcrank
    September 3, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Homeland Security continues to raise the barr (pun intended).

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    Rating: 4.1/5 (22 votes cast)
  2. pwpmmpComment by pwpmmp
    September 3, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Agents won, barr none. (Sorry)

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    Rating: 4.1/5 (28 votes cast)
  3. Robbie PuckettComment by Robbie Puckett
    September 3, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    This is just another example of an amoral enterprise led by BO and his minions. Folks should remember the indecent remarks comr from an administration and its supporters who claim American is not a Christian nation.

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    Rating: 4.1/5 (34 votes cast)
  4. jayleighComment by jayleigh
    September 3, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    So, if a man had done the things she did, he wouldn’t have been allowed to just resign and go quietly into the collective forgetfulness. Amazing! And, i am a woman embarrassed by what passes for “equality” by the ultra-feminists who have always been too cowardly to make it on their own without a law making them more equal… i never worked for anyone who did not treat me with respect – respect for me as a person, and respect me for the knowledge, skill and education i had. There have always been women who succeeded in any profession, despite the handicaps society tried to impose on them. i don’t admire the female wimps who cry about not being able to make it in a “male-dominated-world” without special accommodations, and then behave in an abominable way toward the men who work for them , then think they have some “right” to behave slutty and get away with it. Boo Hiss! Let the prosecution of this embarrassment to womanhood go forward. Don’t let her just go quietly into the night without paying the price a man would be expected to pay if he’d behaved the way she did. Equal rights – equal consequences!

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (70 votes cast)
  5. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 3, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    Is Barr an SD (sexual deivant) like her buddy Napolitano?
    Janet is rumored to make the similar remarks to male subordinates …

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    Rating: 3.9/5 (32 votes cast)
    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      September 3, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      To MALE subordinates? Big Sis?

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      Rating: 4.1/5 (9 votes cast)
  6. David PeacockComment by David Peacock
    September 3, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    big sis Napolito’s dept of sexual lesbian coercion;; it has been leaked for weeks.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (28 votes cast)
  7. bbarrett49Comment by bbarrett49
    September 3, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    bill clinton heard of her plight and will hire her as an intern.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (35 votes cast)
    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      September 3, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

      No, that wouldn’t work because they’re both sexual harassers. One would have to be the harass-ee.

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      Rating: 4.4/5 (13 votes cast)
  8. bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
    September 3, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    It is said that she said and is is a word that needs definition according to Clinton in tight places. Maybe she is trying to show she is not a lesbian, but can you do that now ? I hope she doesn’t talk like most women do now, like they are holding their nose. It isn’t sexy at all.

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    Rating: 2.7/5 (9 votes cast)
  9. tpaine1776Comment by tpaine1776
    September 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    In a regime as licentious, as profligate, as is the Obama regime, by what, or by whom, would Ms. Barr’s wantonness have been constrained? The character of every human enterprise, effectively, is a reflection of the character of the one who presides over it. Mr. Obama, from the very first, has reserved unto himself the right to rend the Constitution beyond recognition, to render it conformable with, and serviceable to, the purpose of the advancement of his ideological agenda. Currently, essentially, this nation possesses not a government of laws, but a “government” of “men”.

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (22 votes cast)
  10. fredricwilliamsComment by fredricwilliams
    September 3, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    While this might be an isolated incident, it may reflect the tendency of our current government to hire friends, family, acquaintances and the like. This young woman, if the charges are true (as her resignation would suggest), has no business running anything. On the other hand, the guy asking for $4 million sounds like a crook.

    Political appointees placed in positions of authority for which they are essentially unskilled labor is a significant part of our present national dilemma. The extension of patronage to more and more offices, and the attitude that no specific level of intelligence or merit is required to be appointed to a government office, has eroded the trust in all government. It isn’t just that Obama is unqualified – he is surrounded by people who are unqualified. Having lived in South Korea for many years, and seen the remarkable efficiency of its government offices, I am convinced that they have the right idea — you have to pass very difficult examinations to become a government employee. Here that has been pushed aside for hiring on personal preference.

    I’m sure many Republicans are looking forward to victory in the fall, believing that they might be able to appoint their own herd of incompetents to run the country.

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    Rating: 3.9/5 (23 votes cast)
  11. Jack ReacherComment by Jack Reacher
    September 3, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Bogata, Columbia? No wonder this country is broke! Exactly what do we need a sexual deviant in Bogata for that couldn’t be handled in an email or a phone call?

    Folks, we need to demand from our representatives an accounting for all these so-called “business trips” that we the taxpayers are shouldering for these worthless government employees to take! As it turns out, once again, someone got hosed … and it wasn’t just that creepy looking Barr.

    And, to respond to fredrickwilliams, I would suggest that this is far from an isolated event.

    Big Sis must have been busy wondering why her carpet looked so ragged.

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    Rating: 4.1/5 (17 votes cast)
  12. twh58Comment by twh58
    September 3, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

    This is just another by product of the pay to play cronyism of the Obama Administration. There has been high level scandal and subsequint resignations from the beginning. It took over a year for Obama to make his first cabinet appointments because with each of his first choices their skeletons fell from their closets. Soon those who were seeing his choices dwindling away were running scared, fearful he would put them under appointment scrutiny, thus allowing the fact finders to expose their scandalous activities. Obama comes froma a long line of scandal, and so does Michelle Obama, David Axelrod, Vallery Jarrett, Joe Biden, Eric Holder. There were the special favors from Joe Biden’s Amtrak cronies and special interest rates banks fixed for Joe and his Son’s mortgages. Holders scandalous cover up of fast and furious and failure to procecute thugs for intimidating non-black voters at the polls. Then there’s Vallery Jarrett who’s long been the pay for play go to gal in Richard Daley’s Chicago Politico. Ole Vallery knows so much dirt on the whole bunch they dare not cross her. Michelle Obama and David Axelrod goes all the way back to the first lady’s days at UCMC where they hatched their scheme to farm out poor blacks to Chicago area clinics so that UCMC could concentrate on more lucrative patients with insurance coverage. Obama claimed a transparent administration, and that was one promise he kept…Everybody can see his administration is corrupt.

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    Rating: 4.1/5 (14 votes cast)
  13. twh58Comment by twh58
    September 3, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    (CONTINUED FROM PRIOR POST AS THE PRIOR PAGE TIMED OUT ON EDIT)

    This is just another by product of the pay to play cronyism of the Obama Administration. There has been high level scandal and subsequint resignations from the beginning. It took over a year for Obama to make his first cabinet appointments because with each of his first choices their skeletons fell from their closets. As Obama was making his way down the short list of potential crony appointee’s, those who were left on the list were running scared, fearful they too would soon come under appointment scrutiny, thus allowing the fact finders to expose their scandalous activities. Obama comes from a long line of scandal, and so does Michelle Obama, David Axelrod, Vallery Jarrett, Joe Biden, Eric Holder, and the majority of all those left in his appointments. There were the special campaign favors from Joe Biden’s Amtrak cronies who joe fought so hard to keep the taxpayer cash spigot open for. Don’t forget the special interest rates banks fixed for Joe and his Son’s mortgages. Remember Holders scandalous cover up of fast and furious and failure to procecute New Black Panther thugs for intimidating non-black voters at the polls. Then there’s Vallery Jarrett who’s long been the pay for play go to gal in Richard Daley’s Chicago Politico. Ole Vallery knows so much dirt on the whole bunch they dare not cross her. David Axelrod goes all the way back to the First Crony Lady’s days at UCMC where they hatched their scheme to farm out poor blacks to Chicago area clinics so that UCMC could concentrate on more lucrative patients with insurance coverage, and there was the scandal where Michelle promted UCMC to change policy to give first consideration to minority bidders for University services. a minority contractor was awarded a lucrative computer upgrade contract allowing him to overcharge UCMC $600,000 and placing UCMC’s Accredidation at risk. Who was the minority contactor who won the bid you ask? It was none other than an old millionaire buddy and Obama campaign supporter who gave Barack a job after he lost his first senate bid and was out of work. Obama claimed a transparent administration, and that was one promise he kept…Everybody can see his administration is corrupt.

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    Rating: 3.5/5 (11 votes cast)
  14. David PeacockComment by David Peacock
    September 3, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    I can not help but chuckle at this admin;;pelosi was going to drain the SWAMP OF CORRUPTION;; hell it the most corrupt bunch of libs in history running this nation;; pot calling the kettle black [oh no is that racist]. hahahh

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    Rating: 3.8/5 (11 votes cast)
  15. David PeacockComment by David Peacock
    September 3, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    votes for sale ;; JUST STEP OVER HERE AND GET YOUR ILLEGAL immigrant pass to vote for obimbo. 2012. keep living in the squalor the dumocraps are giving you or GET A LIFE AND BE FREE TO BE ANYTHING YOU WANT;; JOIN THE CONSERVATIVE; “WE WANT EVERY LEGAL AMERICAN TO HAVE A GOOD PAYING CAREER”. LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM VOTE FOR ROMNEY/RYAN 2012, AND GUESS WHAT JUST THINK [R].

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    Rating: 3.7/5 (9 votes cast)
  16. David PeacockComment by David Peacock
    September 3, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    PROMISCUITY ON PARADE BEING SPONSORED BY “BIG SIS NAPOLITOS”.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)
  17. David PeacockComment by David Peacock
    September 3, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    SEX FOR SECURITY; hahahhah

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    Rating: 3.4/5 (8 votes cast)
  18. noveldogComment by noveldog
    September 3, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

    BHO really knows how to pick them. Corruption from top to bottom of his cabinet. Is there anyone there who is not evil and mentally sick?

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    Rating: 3.9/5 (9 votes cast)
  19. Mary Theresa Del BuonoComment by Mary Theresa Del Buono
    September 3, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    I am so discusted…these women get jobs by being friends alone…I had to take a test for a job…even though I had a friend…that worked for the city…and had to wait to see if I fit in to the position just the same…this was a long long time ago…but I never embarassed the friend of the family that told me about the job…but back to this article…jobs that treat you like this are discusting men should not be equally harrassed by women…sad … so sad… and discusting too…cannot say that enough…should should have to pay it is a crime to harrass someone…Ms. Barr is not qualified for a job if she cannot behave herself…

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    Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
    • Haywood JablomieComment by heywoodjablomie
      September 4, 2012 @ 2:29 am

      You know the old saying: “it’s not who you know, it’s who you….”, well, you know.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
  20. Haywood JablomieComment by heywoodjablomie
    September 4, 2012 @ 2:27 am

    I wonder if this is Janet Incompetano’s lover.

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    Rating: 2.7/5 (3 votes cast)
    • camzComment by camz
      September 4, 2012 @ 7:10 am

      I don’t know whats worse, your childish handle or your tacky comments. Neither has a place in any serious discussion.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

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