Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says internal memos reveal at least 665 FBI employees who were under investigation for sexual misconduct left the agency from 2004 to 2020 before facing disciplinary action.
Grassley said he obtained the records from a whistleblower.
A statement from Grassley's office noted that a document from the Justice Department's Office of Disciplinary Appeals noted, from 2004 to 2020: "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."
The statement noted "the data doesn't include resignations or retirements that occurred prior to the initiation of or during an ongoing misconduct investigation, so the actual number of employees who departed the FBI following allegations of sexual misconduct could be much higher."
The statement added: "The second document, produced this year by the Justice Department and titled 'Inconsistent Adjudication of Non-Consensual Sexual Misconduct' analyzes the implementation of FBI Director [Christopher] Wray's 'zero tolerance' directive from December 2020, which sought to address sexual misconduct at the FBI."
Grassley's office said the document notes that: "[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."
In a Wednesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Grassley wrote: "Simply put, these two documents show a systemic failure within the Justice Department and FBI to protect female employees from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace and a failure to sufficiently punish employees for that same misconduct. FBI employees should not have to suffer under daily abuse and misconduct by their colleagues and supervisors.
"Congress has an obligation to perform an objective and independent review of the Justice Department's and FBI's failures and determine the accuracy of the data contained in the documents so that the American people know and understand what, if any, changes have been made to solve these significant problems."
According to the Washington Examiner, the FBI responded to Grassley's findings on Thursday.
"The FBI 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," an agency spokesman told the Examiner. "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."
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