House Oversight lawmakers say Coast Guard has failed to release batches of documents amid probe

Top House Oversight Committee lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan demanding the release of more documents they say have not been provided amid a probe into cultural issues at the military branch and the mishandling of sexual assault cases at the Coast Guard Academy.

The letter, dated Tuesday, says the committee had requested relevant documents in July and December of last year, and that it was concerned about a “failure to produce sufficient documents,” with just 8,338 provided out of 1.8 million.

“Since sending these requests, the committee has heard from whistleblowers, who have
bravely come forward to recount traumatizing experiences and who have revealed additional cultural deficiencies and alleged incompetence and misconduct by current and former leaders,” lawmakers wrote as they renewed their request for the documents.

The letter was signed by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chair of the committee, and ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), along with subcommittee on national security, the border and foreign affairs chair Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and subcommittee ranking member Robert Garcia (D-Calif.).

Fagan is on Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is also investigating the Coast Guard Academy over an internal report called Operation Fouled Anchor.

That report concluded in 2020 and details the mishandling of sexual assault and harassment cases at the school between 1990 and 2006.

The Coast Guard has faced increasing scrutiny over Operation Fouled Anchor, an issue that was amplified on Monday after a former academy official said she was planning to resign.

The official, Shannon Norenberg, is the sexual assault response coordinator at the academy, but says she became “literally sick” after claiming she was directed to lie to victims of sexual assault from the Operation Fouled Anchor report to cover up the cases from Congress.

The Coast Guard said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday that they offered briefings to victims of the findings in the Operation Fouled Anchor report to spread awareness of support services.

“At the time of the initial preparations for those meetings, Congressional briefings regarding the Operation were being contemplated, which was reflected in the talking points developed for the meetings,” officials said. “However, the meetings took place approximately 10 months after the talking points were developed and Congressional notifications had not been made.

“A former member present at each of those meetings reports that the issue of Congressional notification was not addressed with any of the victims,” they wrote. “Furthermore, the Coast Guard is not aware of anyone telling members of that team to lie regarding any aspect of Operation Fouled Anchor.”

The Coast Guard said it has contacted the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to investigate the allegations raised by Norenberg, and that the government watchdog had accepted the request.

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