The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog sanctioned at least 14 FBI agents and officials over the last five years – most of which occurred under Former FBI Director James Comey’s leadership, reports Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller – which has reviewed documents from the agency’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.
The acts entail inappropriate romantic relationships with a subordinate, outright sexual harassment, favoritism or promotion based on demands for sex, and retaliation against women who rebuffed male employee’s advances. –Daily Caller
Prior to Comey’s tenure as Director which began in September 2013, no sexual misconduct charges had been filed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Most recently, an extramarital relationship between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page was revealed during Congressional investigations into the FBI, which had been uncovered by Horowitz through a search of text messages between the two agents.
Perhaps the most shocking revelation, however, is that Comey attempted to thwart Horowitz’s investigation.
As Horowitz explained in his March 2015 final report on how law enforcement agencies handle sexual-misconduct complaints, his office’s ability “to conduct this review was significantly impacted and delayed by the repeated difficulties we had in obtaining relevant information from both the FBI and DEA as we were initiating this review in mid-2013.”
After pulling teeth to try and obtain records from the FBI, Horowitz was finally presented with unredacted information that satisfied his requests – however it was “still incomplete.”
Of note, Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Comey fought Horowitz’s investigation into sexual misconduct charges.
Lynch supported Comey’s defiance of the IG via a July 20, 2015, memo from DOJ Office of Legal Counsel principal-deputy AG Karl Thompson. Thompson charged law enforcement agencies could redact information in its files and withhold information from the Inspector General. It was one of her first acts as Obama’s new Attorney General, who was sworn in to office on April 27, 2015. –DC
It was only after a multi-year battle with the Obama administration that Horowitz was finally able to obtain the information he sought after Congress passed the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, restoring his office’s ability to access information without having to ask for it first.
Of note, Horowitz’s report on FBI malfeasance during the 2016 election is due out in several weeks – which many think will provide official confirmation that the top ranks of the FBI and DOJ engaged in a highly politicized hit-job on President Trump and his team in an effort to elect Hillary Clinton while undermining Trump.
Who is Michael Horowitz?
As we detailed in January, Horowitz was appointed head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in April, 2012 – after the Obama administration hobbled the OIG’s investigative powers in 2011 amid the “Fast and Furious” scandal. The changes forced the various Inspectors General for all government agencies to request information while conducting investigations, as opposed to the authority to demand it. This allowed Holder (and other agency heads) to bog down OIG requests in bureaucratic red tape, and in some cases, deny them outright.
What did Horowitz do? As one twitter commentator puts it, he went to war…
In March of 2015, Horowitz’s office prepared a report for Congress titled Open and Unimplemented IG Recommendations. It laid the Obama Admin bare before Congress – illustrating among other things how the administration was wasting tens-of-billions of dollars by ignoring the recommendations made by the OIG.
After several attempts by congress to restore the OIG’s investigative powers, Rep. Jason Chaffetz successfully introduced H.R.6450 – the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 – signed by a defeated lame duck President Obama into law on December 16th, 2016, cementing an alliance between Horrowitz and both houses of Congress.
1) Due to the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, the OIG has access to all of the information that the target agency possesses. This not only includes their internal documentation and data, but also that which the agency externally collected and documented.
TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 3, 2018
See here for a complete overview of the OIG’s new and restored powers. And while the public won’t get to see classified details of the OIG report, Mr. Horowitz is also big on public disclosure:
13) Horowitz in 2017 took his organization to a new level via public disclosure. He no longer wants his findings hidden from us by the media. In May he created the twitter account @OversightGov. On October 1st his website https://t.co/TJqbITz0IR went live. pic.twitter.com/H8MKD6WzVE
— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 3, 2018
Horowitz’s efforts to roll back Eric Holder’s restrictions on the OIG sealed the working relationship between Congress and the Inspector General’s ofice, and they most certainly appear to be on the same page. Moreover, brand new FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to be on the same page as well. Click here and keep scrolling for that and more insight into what’s going on behind the scenes.
Once congress has reviewed the OIG report on the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 election, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will use it to supplement their investigations, which will result in hearings with the end goal of requesting or demanding a Special Counsel investigation. The DOJ can appoint a Special Counsel at any point, or wait for Congress to demand one. If a request for a Special Counsel is ignored, Congress can pass legislation to force an the appointment.
And while the DOJ could act on the OIG report and investigate / prosecute themselves without a Special Counsel, it is highly unlikely that Congress would stand for that given the subjects of the investigation.
As TrumpSoldier points out in his analysis, the DOJ can take various actions regarding “Policy, personnel, procedures, and re-opening of investigations. In short, just about everything (Immunity agreements can also be rescinded).”
Back to the topic at hand, here are the 14 cases of sexual misconduct within the bureau, via the Daily Caller:
- Tuesday the IG found that a special agent in charge (SAC) of an FBI field office, had an “inappropriate romantic relationship” with a subordinate who also was married. The SAC was married and had a young child at home, according to a source knowledgeable of the case.
- On June 3, 2016, a SAC retired after it was disclosed he accepted free rent and lived at the residence of a subordinate FBI special agent in violation of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, which prohibits an employee from accepting a gift from a subordinate who receives less pay and is a violation of the FBI Code of Conduct policy.
- In August 2015, the IG reported that an FBI assistant SAC (ASAC) was temporarily demoted because he made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature towards employees and made inappropriate physical contact with employees.” The IG interviewed several witnesses “who told the OIG that they were either inappropriately touched or that they had inappropriate comments made to them by the ASAC. Other witnesses said they observed the ASAC engage in such conduct with the employees.” The ASAC denied the allegations, and stated “he did not recall” the specific incidents. “The OIG found the witnesses’ accounts to be consistent, credible, and corroborative of each other” and that he “lacked candor” in his interview.
- In December 2014, an ASAC was disciplined for sexually harassing an FBI employee. He admitted to engaging in several acts of sexual harassment, including sending the employee an electronic communication containing sexual innuendo and making a sexually-oriented comment at a luncheon.
- In December 2014, an ASAC was disciplined for making unwanted sexual advances to a special agent and later removing the special agent from his assignment for refusing those advances. He also allegedly selected a replacement for the special agent based on a personal relationship with the replacement. Although the IG investigation found “no evidence” the ASAC made supervisory decisions based solely on a personal relationship, the IG “found that the ASAC’s involvement in decisions benefitting the individual created an appearance of favoritism.”
- In June 2014, the IG reported that an FBI program analyst was dismissed. While detailed to another federal agency, he arranged for sexual encounters using his work computer. The analyst also “admitted to arranging sexual encounters by using his personal e-mail account accessed through the other agency’s network on his work computer.”
- In June 2014, an FBI Information Technology specialist and program manager resigned after making multiple unwanted sexual advances towards an FBI contract employee while intoxicated. When the contractor reported the incident to an FBI supervisor, the IT specialist allegedly “threatened to kick the contractor and retaliate against her at work.”
- In January 2014, the FBI issued disciplinary action against an ASAC who had sexual relationships with and sexually harassed subordinates. He created “a hostile work environment” and disregarded his supervisor’s instruction to inform him if a relationship developed with his subordinate. The FBI determined the ASAC “sexually harassed other female subordinates, had inappropriate sexual contact with two other subordinates while on duty and retaliated against a female special agent after she refused to engage in a romantic relationship with him.”
- In January 2014, the FBI demoted a SAC who “engaged in a protracted sexual relationship with a foreign national that he deliberately concealed from the FBI.” He also “disclosed sensitive information to the foreign national,” and allowed the foreign national to use FBI-issued iPads and an FBI-issued Blackberry phones on numerous occasions. He also exchanged sexually explicit communications on the Blackberry with the foreign national.
- In January 2014, an FBI ASAC made “unwanted sexual advances” to an FBI special agent (SA). The ASAC removed the female agent for refusing those advances. “The ASAC was further alleged to have selected a replacement for the SA based on a personal relationship with the replacement.”
- In November 2013, an FBI Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) resigned after it was determined he was involved in a personal relationship with a direct subordinate that resulted in favoritism. The two exchanged messages on their FBI-issued Blackberry devices. The DAD “failed to disclose the relationship and recuse herself from all official decisions regarding the subordinate, as required by FBI policy, and that the relationship created perceived instances of benefit or favoritism towards the subordinate, in violation of FBI policy.”
- In May 2013, an ASAC voluntarily removed himself from his position and was reassigned to a GS-13 position for engaging in a relationship with a subordinate employee for a lengthy period that began before and continued after the his promotion to the ASAC position. The investigation also found that the ASAC “was insubordinate by willfully ignoring a former SAC’s instruction to terminate the relationship.”
- In February 2013, an FBI ASAC was disciplined when he engaged in a relationship with a subordinate FBI employee for a lengthy period. The investigation also found the ASAC was insubordinate by willfully ignoring a former SAC’s instruction to terminate the relationship.
- In January 2013, an ASAC engaged in romantic relationships with approximately 17 female FBI employees, nine of whom were direct subordinates, “creating a hostile work environment.” The investigation determined the ASAC “sexually harassed other female subordinates, had inappropriate sexual contact with two other subordinates while on duty, and retaliated against a female special agent after she refused to engage in a romantic relationship with him.