Department of Defense Principal Deputy Inspector General Glenn Fine submitted his resignation Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
May 26 (UPI) -- Glenn Fine submitted his resignation as the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general Tuesday, his new post after being removed as acting inspector general last month.
The resignation will be effective as of June 1, Department of Defense inspector general spokesperson Dwerna Allen said.
"It's been an honor to serve in the Inspector General community, both as the inspector general of the Department of Justice and the DoD acting inspector general and principal deputy inspector general performing the duties of the DoD inspector general," 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."
"They are a vital component of our system of checks and balances, and I am grateful to have been part of that system," he added. "After many years in the DoJ and DoD OIGs, I believe the time has come for me to step down and allow others to perform this vital role. I wish the men and women of the DoD OIG and the Inspector General Community continued success in these important responsibilities."
Fine stepped into the position of the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general after President Donald Trump removed him from leading the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee in April. This essentially removed him from the acting inspector general post he had been in since 2016 because the post was reserved for inspectors general. Trump named Sean O'Donnell, the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general, to take over as acting Department of Defense inspector general along with staying in the EPA role. Fine previously served as Department of Justice inspector general for 11 years.
Trump nominated last month Jason Abend, a senior policy adviser with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to assume the inspector general role permanently.
The removal of Fine last month from the accountability committee and the acting inspector general role has been seen as part of larger set of removals of inspectors general in a short time.
On Friday, House Democrats introduced legislation to protect inspectors general from retaliation after Trump fired five watchdogs within a few months.
Earlier this month, Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick upon Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's request after he began an investigation into allegations that Pompeo had an aide run personal errands for him. Pompeo told The Washington Post that he had asked Trump to fire him, but said that it was not a retaliatory move because he did not know about the probe beforehand.
Critics said the move was also to shield Pompeo from other potential political harm. The issue involving Pompeo included efforts to fast-track a Saudi arms deal along with using the staffer for personal errands, CNN, NBC News and USA Today reported.
After firing Linick, the Trump administration also ousted Mitchell Behm as acting Transportation Department inspector general the next day, prompting an investigation by House Democrats.
Also, this month, Trump moved to replace another watchdog in the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump removed Christi Grimm as principal inspector after her office issued a report in April, finding "severe shortages" of COVID-19 testing kits, frequent testing delays of seven days or longer, along with "widespread shortages" of proper protective equipment in hospitals.
Last month, Trump fired intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who told lawmakers about the whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment inquiry. The House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18, but the majority of the Senate voted to acquit him in February.