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Tag: Inspector General

Sen. Grassley Calls on Inspector General to Investigate Reports of Sexual Misconduct Among FBI Ranks

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling

Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling on the Justice Department’s internal watchdog to investigate reports of the FBI mishandling complaints of sexual misconduct within its ranks, he announced Wednesday. 

The action comes nearly two years after the Associated Press reported that at least six high-franking FBI officials have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past year, and none had been disciplined.

Since then, the Iowa Republican said a whistleblower provided him with previously undisclosed records showing that at least 665 employees have left the FBI to avoid discipline amid sexual misconduct investigations between 2004 and 2020. The records also suggest that high-ranking FBI officials received lighter penalties than lower-ranking employees. 

In a letter last week to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, said the “allegations and records paint a disgraceful picture of abuse and misconduct within the FBI.”

“FBI employees should not have to suffer under daily abuse and misconduct by their colleagues and supervisors,” Grassley wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, I am requesting that you immediately open a review of the Justice Department’s and FBI’s management of sexual misconduct claims, including how many employees who separated from federal service before the resolution of an investigation received the required notice in their personnel file, the apparent failure to ensure the Javelin database includes full and complete data, and the unequal application of disciplinary rules.”

Former FBI Agents Publicly Support Suspended Agent Stephen Friend

By Steve Neavling

Thirty former FBI agents are publicly supporting suspended agent Stephen Friend, who claims to be a whistleblower. 

The agents, including a retired deputy assistant director, head of counterterrorism and five SWAT team members, allege the FBI has been politicized, The New York Post reports.

“It’s time to stop the FBI from being the enforcer of a political party’s ideology,” Ernie Tibaldi, a retired agent from San Francisco, said. “We need to reestablish the FBI as the apolitical and independent law enforcement entity that it always was.”

He credited Friend “for having the courage to stand up to the corruption that has taken over the leadership of the FBI.”

Friend was suspended without pay earlier this month after he refused to participate in SWAT raids that he alleged violated FBI policy. 

He claimed in a whistleblower complaint to the Justice Department’s inspector general that the bureau was manipulating case-filed management to exaggerate the threat of domestic terrorism. 

He has gained the support of many Republicans. 

The bureau has repeatedly countered that it did nothing wrong and denied politicizing the bureau. 

Trump’s Homeland Security Watchdog Scratched Plans to Save Secret Service Text Messages

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security’s internal watchdog had a chance to try and recover missing Secret Service text messages around the time of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari’s staff learned in February 2021 that the messages had been deleted when the Secret Service switched to a new system and got new devices.  

Cuffari’s office was going to get data specialists to help retrieve the messages, but he suddenly changed his mind. 

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been seeking the messages in hopes of revealing more information about Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. 

When Cuffari notified the House and Senate Homeland Security committees this month that the text messages had been “erased,” he failed to disclose that “his office first discovered that deletion in December and failed to alert lawmakers or examine the phones,” The Post wrote. 

Cuffari’s spokesman decline to comment on the latest news. 

House Dems Call on Inspector General to Remove Himself from Probe of Secret Service Texts

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari

By Steve Neavling

Lawmakers are calling for a new inspector general to head the investigation into deleted Secret Service text messages in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who also chairs the committee investigating the Capitol riots, are asking DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to recuse himself. 

In a letter to Cuffari, the top Democrats say his failure to notify Congress that the Secret Service wasn’t providing records “cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation.”

“These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “There must be no doubt that the Inspector General leading this investigation can conduct it thoroughly and with integrity, objectivity and independence. We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.”

Cuffari waited months to notify Congress that the messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 had been erased. Earlier this month, he finally notified Congress of the deleted texts. 

“Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation. In light of these serious failures, we request that Inspector General Cuffari step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages,” the lawmakers wrote.

IG: Secret Service Deleted Text Messages from Jan. 5 And 6, Despite Request to Preserve Them

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents erased text messages sent and received during a two-day period surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection, the inspector general for Homeland Security said.

The messages were erased, even though the inspector general asked that they be preserved for the investigation into the events of Jan. 6, the IG said in a letter obtained by The New York Times. 

“It’s concerning,” U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told The Times. “It’s important for us to get as much information about how this discrepancy occurred.”

The Secret Service took issue with some of the allegations, saying “some phones” had “lost” data as part of a three-month “system migration” in January 2021, but insisted that none of the lost texts were relevant to the inquiry. 

The migration was underway before the inspector general had requested the data, the agency said in a statement, adding that none of the messages were “maliciously” deleted. 

DOJ Inspector General to Review Trump Administration’s Handling of Manafort, Cohen

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s inspector general has notified lawmakers that he will examine how the Trump administration handled the prison terms of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz told lawmakers about the review in a Jan. 19 letter obtained by Insider

Due to health issues, Cohen was released to home confinement in May 2020 but was sent back to prison in July 2020. In a lawsuit filed in December 2021, Cohen alleged he was sent back to prison in retaliation for criticizing Trump.  

By contrast, former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort was released to home confinement in May 2020 and not sent back to prison. He was serving a nearly four year sentence for tax and bank fraud. 

In a letter to the inspector general in May 2020, U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Hakem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Manafort received “disparate treatment” compared to other federal inmates who were not sent back to prison. 

“This outrageous, unconstitutional behavior by the Justice Department and BOP must stop,” the lawmakers wrote.

In the letter to lawmakers, Horowitz pledged to review the issue but failed to promise a full investigation. 

Cohen told Insider he was disappointed with Horowitz’s response. 

“This non-acknowledgment acknowledgment is far less than what I was hoping for after 18 months of neglect,” Cohen said. “This letter should have merely apologized for the delay, as it did, and stated emphatically that the OIG is opening an investigation into the unconstitutional remand of me back to Otisville.”

Cohen said a full investigation would show “that former President Trump and his complicit attorney general, Bill Barr, spearheaded this violation of my First Amendment right — proving my statement that Trump did not want to be president of the United States but rather an autocrat, dictator, monarch and/or supreme leader.”

FBI Agent Who Bungled Sex-Abuse Allegations Against Nassar Is Fired

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has fired an agent accused of failing to properly investigate sexual abuse allegations against USA disgraced Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. 

The termination of Michael Langeman, who was a supervisory special agent at the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, comes two months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General found that the FBI mishandled the case.

Langeman was fired last week, The Washington Post reports

In 2015, Langeman interviewed gymnast McKayla Maroney, who said she was sexually abused by Nassar. 

In his report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz accused Langeman and his former boss, Jay Abbott, of mishandling the case and then lying to inspector general investigators about it. 

Horowitz said the Indianapolis Field Office “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.” During the investigation, which began in 2015, the bureau waited five weeks to interview one of the victims and failed to notify the FBI’s Lansing office or state law enforcement.   

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray is scheduled to testify about the Nassar case today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Former FBI Section Chief Charged with Falsifying His Time Sheet

By Steve Neavling

A former section chief at the FBI’s Quantico lab is accused of falsifying his team sheet, getting paid for nearly 900 hours of time he didn’t work. 

John Behun, a 28-year veteran of the bureau, was charged with theft of government property in U.S. District Court last month, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. He was fired in February 2019.

As a laboratory division section chief, Behun led the section that handles human resources, finance, safety and compliance/health program. 

Between 2015 to 2018, Behun is accused of getting compensated for time he didn’t complete. 

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General led the investigation.. 

Behun was out of jail on bond but was prohibit from traveling internationally.