Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he received information from a whistleblower that 665 FBI employees left the company over the last 17 years to avoid the outcome of misconduct investigations.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 7, 2022
Now, Grassley is insisting that the FBI answer for the leaked information.
Grassley is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said his office was informed by a whistleblower that the Justice Department opened a review of the FBI’s disciplinary database in 2020. The review was in response to reports by the Associated Press of sexual misconduct allegations against at least six senior FBI officials.
During the review, the Justice Department discovered that 665 employees had either resigned or retired between 2004 and 2020, prior to the completion of their misconduct probes. Forty-five of the employees were senior-level officials.
Grassley issued a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland this week, asking for answers.
“It’s been alleged to my office that the data involved an element of sexual misconduct, which comports with the purpose of the … review that was done because of the Associated Press article,” Grassley wrote. “The committee welcomes any clarity the Justice Department is able to provide.”
When contacted for comment, the FBI indicated that they would first be replying to the oversight committee regarding the 665 employees. Without commenting on the specifics, the bureau made it clear that it does not tolerate sexual harrassment.
“The FBI looks critically at ourselves and will continue to make improvements,” read the statement from the FBI. “The bottom line is, employees who commit gross misconduct and sexual harassment have no place in the FBI.”
In the statement, the FBI also expressed its regret that it could not do more to discipline its employees once they resigned.
“It is infuriating that we are left with little disciplinary recourse when people leave before their case is adjudicated,” wrote the FBI.
Since the reports of sexual misconduct by the Associated Press, the FBI indicated that they created a 24/7 hotline for employees to report sexual abuse, and they created a committee to review their policies and procedures on sexual harrassment and supporting victims.
Tracy Walder, who left the FBI in 2006 after filling a sexual harrassment complaint, said that she is pleased the agency is finally taking the issue seriously.
“I do not believe that the entirety of the FBI behaves this way; in fact, there are many excellent agents,” said Walder. “However, because of the way I was treated, I feel a sense of shame and ‘What if?’ And this behavior has been allowed to continue for decades.”