Pentagon’s deputy inspector general resigns


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Defense Department’s deputy inspector general resigned on Tuesday, more than a month after President Donald Trump removed him as the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, who was to also oversee the U.S. government $2.3 trillion coronavirus response.

Glenn Fine’s resignation comes after the Trump administration has removed four government inspectors general, who seek to root out government waste, fraud and abuse, in recent weeks.

Most recently the State Department’s inspector general, Steve Linick was fired. That ousting prompted heavy criticism from senior Democratic lawmakers, including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

“I believe the time has come for me to step down and allow others to perform this vital role,” Fine said in a statement.

“The role of Inspectors General is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way,” Fine added.

Fine had been performing the duties of the Pentagon’s lead inspector general when he was removed in early April and reverted to being the No. 2 official in the inspector general’s office.

Earlier in May, Trump ousted Christi Grimm, who led the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG). He accused her of having produced a “fake dossier” on shortages at American hospitals on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. Grimm was testifying before a congressional committee on Tuesday.

In April, the Republican president notified Congress that he was firing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community. Atkinson was involved in triggering a probe of Trump last year that resulted in Trump’s impeachment.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis