WASHINGTON — Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano’s embattled high-ranking immigration aide took a leave of absence following salacious new claims about the agency’s alleged sexually hostile environment toward men, while Napolitano herself indicated she is pondering stepping down.
Suzanne Barr, who has close Arizona ties to Napolitano, took a “voluntary leave,” according to Brian Hale, spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Barr’s leave, which began Tuesday, comes as two more male accusers claimed they personally witnessed Barr engage in lewd and hostile behavior with subordinates. In a sworn affidavit obtained by The Post but with the accuser’s name redacted, an ICE employee described as an assistant attaché says at a party at the deputy chief of mission’s house in Colombia in 2009, “He said she got too close for comfort.Suzanne Barr approached me and offered to give me a b— job.”
An affidavit by another ICE employee states that just before Halloween in 2009, at a gathering in the ICE director’s office, Barr turned to another ICE employee and called him a “sexy mothaf–ker!” Barr also allegedly “looked at his crotch and asked, ‘How long is it anyway?’” prompting other employees to laugh nervously, according to the statement.
The new claims follow a lawsuit filed by senior law enforcement official James Hayes, who says ICE had a hostile work environment and that Barr rewarded male employees who would “play along with her sexually charged games.” Meanwhile, Napolitano, in an interview with the Arizona Republic newspaper, broached the topic of stepping down as head of Homeland Security and returning to her home state.
“It’s certainly in my mind,” she said. “I don’t know if or when. But I left a lot of my stuff in Arizona. And I’m still a registered voter there.”
Putting your unqualified buddies in positions of power turns out to be a bad thing….who’da thunk it?