Republican senator Charles Grassley of Iowa says the Federal Bureau of Investigation may have tolerated egregious, even criminal conduct by some agents, says the New York Times. Grassley released an FBI report from 2000 on 107 instances of serious agent misconduct over 16 years. The study said that agents accused of wrongdoing often had a history of disciplinary proceedings and that the FBI had hired some agents despite “a checkered past” and negative recommendations.
The report suggested that many cases of wrongdoing had never before been made public. “The shocking report is a laundry list of horrors,” said Grassley, “with examples of agents who committed rape, sexual crimes against children, other sexual deviance and misconduct, attempted murder of a spouse, and narcotics violations, among many others.”
The Times quotes an FBI official insisting on anonymity who said: “This is an old report, and a lot of this stuff has been dealt with and people have been prosecuted. You won’t find any organization that doesn’t have problems. People have weaknesses, and when the bureau becomes aware of that, we act on it.”
FBI director Robert S. Mueller III appointed an outside commission last May to study the “erosion of trust” in the bureau. The report is due soon.
“While it’s laudable that the FBI does fire agents who commit such terrible acts,” Mr. Grassley said in his letter, “these findings raise concerns about whether the FBI was dealing with problem agents soon enough and rigorously enough, possibly because of a reluctance to impose severe discipline.”
The 2000 report studied agents who had been fired or left under investigation of wrongdoing. The study found that dismissals for egregious behavior averaged about 8.5 agents a year, or a rate of less than one in 1,000.