The official, Chris Grisafe, told staff this week that he attended the rally to show his support for the outgoing president, and has claimed that he did not move with the crowd from the rally area near the White House to the Capitol grounds.
Grisafe’s attendance at the Jan. 6 rally alarmed some FEMA staff, according to one person familiar with the matter, and several employees reported it to the DHS Inspector General and the FBI.
Grisafe currently serves as one of FEMA’s top political appointees in the role of associate administrator for resilience, where he helps “oversee and manage FEMA’s national preparedness, mitigation, insurance, continuity and grant programs,” according to his official biography. The Coast Guard veteran was part of the response efforts for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita and served at the Pentagon in a variety of advisory roles before joining FEMA last August.
A FEMA spokesperson said in a statement that Grisafe “was on personal leave on January 6. FEMA does not comment on how employees choose to spend their personal time.” The spokesperson noted that Grisafe “was not present at the Inauguration security briefing with the vice president” that took place on Thursday, but did not elaborate on whether he has been involved more generally in FEMA’s efforts to “promote an enhanced preparedness posture” for the Inauguration.
The DHS OIG did not return a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.FEMA announced in a press release on Thursday that it has been “fully engaged” and “actively coordinating with our state, local and federal partners in support of the 59th Presidential Inauguration,” and “has provided planning, training and exercise support to our federal, state and local partners” leading up to the Inauguration.