The FBI has investigated at least six internal sexual misconduct allegations involving top brass over the last five years — but none of the accused officials ever faced discipline, even when the reports were substantiated, an Associated Press probe found.
The cases include an assistant FBI director who was accused of drunkenly groping a female subordinate, a senior FBI official who allegedly sexually harassed eight employees and another high-ranking official accused of blackmailing a young employee for sex, the probe found.
Two of those claims came this week, the outlet reported.
Using a review of court records, Office of Inspector General reports and interviews with federal law enforcement officials, the outlet discovered none of the high-ranking members faced discipline beyond quiet transfers and early retirements.
“They’re sweeping it under the rug,” a former FBI analyst, who’s suing the agency over allegations that a supervisory special agent groped her and licked her face in 2017, told the outlet.
“As the premier law enforcement organization that the FBI holds itself out to be, it’s very disheartening when they allow people they know are criminals to retire and pursue careers in law enforcement-related fields,” the former analyst continued, asking to be identified only by her first name, Becky.
The accused officials were able to keep their full pensions and benefits even when claims were substantiated, the AP reported. They were also given the privilege of anonymity once the disciplinary process ran its course, which allowed the accused to remain in law enforcement or land cushy, private-sector gigs with ease, the outlet wrote.
“They need a #MeToo moment,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California), a critic of the male-dominated federal agency, told the outlet.
“It’s repugnant, and it underscores the fact that the FBI and many of our institutions are still good ol’-boy networks,” Speier continued.
“It doesn’t surprise me that, in terms of sexual assault and sexual harassment, they are still in the Dark Ages.”
In response, the FBI said they maintain a “zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment.” Supervisors who had pending claims against them were removed from their positions while the allegations were investigated and adjudicated, the FBI said.
The agency added that if the cases are severe enough, they could result in criminal charges and the internal disciplinary process assesses “the credibility of the allegations, the severity of the conduct, and the rank and position of the individuals involved” among other factors in making that decision.