The Department of Justice’s Inspector General penned a memo this week to FBI Director Christopher Wray, raising concerns that serious allegations of misconduct by agents aren’t being properly investigated.
Inspector Michael Horowitz warned of potential national security risks due to the bureau’s failure to abide by federal regulations that require employees with “high risk security” issues to be referred to oversight offices.
“Despite these requirements, we identified several instances in which the FBI could not demonstrate that allegations of employee misconduct were referred either to the [FBI’s Inspection Division or the Office of Inspector General],” Horowitz wrote.
“Our concerns are heightened because all FBI employees have Top Secret clearances, which give them access to classified information when relevant to their work,” he added.
In one case identified by Horowitz, a bureau IT specialist admitted to using FBI equipment to view and print out pornography. He also admitted to creating a fictitious Facebook account to have an online relationship with a foreign national for 6 months.
“Neither the INSD nor the OIG received any report of allegations involving the misuse of government equipment to view and print inappropriate photographs or the unreported foreign contacts,” the memo stated. The employee even maintained his top secret security clearance for 17 months after his admission, despite failing three separate polygraph tests during that time frame.
In another example, a Special Agent admitted, during a lie detector test, to having sexual relations with a former FBI criminal source. The incident, however, was never referred to the inspection offices.
“Independent investigations of misconduct allegations against employees with access to SCI are particularly important given the potential risks to US national security,” Horowitz wrote to Director Wray.
Horowitz urged the FBI to take “immediate corrective actions” and report back within 30 days.
Earlier this month, the DOJ Inspector General revealed accountability problems, with regard to agent misconduct at another federal law enforcement organ: the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The watchdog told the DEA that senior officials should be stripped of their power to decide if security reviews should take place in the wake of subordinates’ misbehavior.