Sen. Chuck Grassley: Hundreds of FBI Agents Resigned amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, reportedly received documents from a whistleblower showing hundreds of FBI agents resigned between 2004 to 2020 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Grassley’s office shared information about a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) internal report titled “Retirements and Resignations During Unwelcome Sexual Conduct Adjudications.”
According to that document:
665 FBI employees, including 45 [Senior Executive Service (SES)]-level employees have retired or resigned following an FBI or [Justice Department Office of Inspector General (OIG)] investigation into alleged misconduct, but prior to [the Office of Professional Responsibility’s (OPR)] issuance of a final disciplinary letter.
However, Grassley noted that the number could be much higher than 665 because it does not include agents who resigned or retired before or during an ongoing misconduct investigation.
Whistleblower disclosures to my office show systemic failure within FBI to protect women employees from disgraceful sexual misconduct; senior level employees get away with it, retire, & get bonuses; when is FBI Dir Wray going to clean house??
— Chuck Grassley (@ChuckGrassley) October 6, 2022
The DOJ conducted its internal report after a 2020 Associated Press report that revealed there were “at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the past five years,”
Grassley’s office also received a second document, reportedly titled “Inconsistent Adjudication of Non-Consensual Sexual Misconduct,” that shows lower-level FBI officials accused of misconduct may have been penalized more than senior officials under FBI Director Christopher Wray’s “zero tolerance directive.
According to the document:
[R]ecent sexual misconduct cases appear to show OPR’s application of this directive has resulted in seemingly random penalties and disparate treatment, potentially compromising the consistency, fairness, and due process of the FBI’s disciplinary system.
The only discernable pattern appears to be that higher-graded employees, especially supervisors, are more likely to have their sexual misconduct case adjudicated under Offense Code 5.22, and therefore subjected to lesser penalties; whereas, lower-graded employees are seemingly more likely to be adjudicated under Offense Code 5.20, and have a statistically greater likelihood of being dismissed for their sexual misconduct. This may give the appearance the FBI is not holding its supervisors accountable for unwelcome sexual conduct.
Grassley’s office kept the whistleblower’s identity and documents private to protect against unlawful whistleblower retaliation.
Grassley on Wednesday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Wray asking for more information about the FBI’s internal sexual misconduct investigation.
Lawful, protected whistleblower disclosures provided to my office include allegations and records that show hundreds of FBI employees have retired or resigned because of sexual misconduct allegations against them and that they did so in order to avoid accountability. The allegations and records paint a disgraceful picture of abuse that women within the FBI have had to live with for many years. This abuse and misconduct is outrageous and beyond unacceptable.
The FBI responded to Grassley’s whistleblower disclosure on Thursday, saying the bureau “looks critically at ourselves and will continue to make improvements.”
“The bottom line is, employees who commit gross misconduct and sexual harassment have no place in the FBI,” the FBI’s statement added. “We prioritize investigation and adjudication of sexual harassment and misconduct cases, and when allegations of sexual harassment are substantiated, FBI employees face severe consequences, including permanent demotion, removal from supervisory ranks, or termination.”