New Justice IG brings anti-corruption experience

Tuesday - 5/1/2012, 10:28am EDT

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General, Justice Department

Download mp3

The Justice Department has a new watchdog. Michael Horowitz was confirmed as the inspector general at the end of March.

Horowitz has worked for the agency for more than a decade, including as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York City.

In his first radio interview since being confirmed as IG, Horowitz said he brings to the agency experience investigating allegations of corruption.

He said he has been in situations where he has had to prosecute law enforcement agents who had "gone corrupt," he said in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.

"Those are extraordinarily difficult situations, but the one thing I was taught as a prosecutor when I was sworn in as an assistant U.S. attorney is: You follow the law. You follow the facts and the evidence where they lead," Horowitz said. "You need to put aside issues of friendship, issues of partisanship, certainly. You need to be non-ideological. You need to be nonpartisan. You need to be independent."

One of Horowitz's first orders of business is to issue a semi-annual report to Congress on the IG office's activities. He said that report will be issued on June 1.

Among the ongoing investigations is the Fast and Furious operation. The program was aimed at tracking weapons from the United States to Mexico but guns used in the operations were later discovered at the scene of the killing of a U.S. border agent.

Horowitz also has on his agenda the overarching issues on DoJ's top management challenges, including counter-terrorism, border security and protecting civil rights and civil liberties. Finding cost and performance efficiencies is also high on the agency's priorities list.

Horowitz will report directly to Attorney General Eric Holder. He said the IG's job is "not to make policy or decide policy issues, but rather to bring forward reports and put forward information that allows policymakers to take a look and decide if certain programs are effectively run."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.