From: Otis Willie
Subject: Report Criticizes FBI Policy
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 19:26:46 EST
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 00:26:46 GMT
Report Criticizes FBI Policy
(EXCERPT) By JONATHAN D. SALANT, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI (news - web sites) senior managers receive slaps
on the wrist for misconduct that would bring stronger penalties for
lower-level workers, the Justice Department (news - web sites)
inspector general said Friday.
Among the examples cited in a report: Several FBI officials under
investigation for their part in the fatal shooting at Ruby Ridge,
Idaho, received promotions or bonuses. Senior officials who submitted
false travel vouchers went unpunished.
"We believe that in these cases, FBI senior managers were afforded
different and more favorable treatment than less senior FBI employees
would have received," Inspector General Glenn Fine said in the report.
"These cases, which were well known within the FBI, fed the perception
that senior managers were treated more favorably than subordinate
The findings track allegations made by John Roberts, unit chief of the
FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility. Roberts made those
charges in congressional testimony and repeated them last month on
CBS' "60 Minutes." Lawmakers said Roberts' superiors retaliated
against him after he went on TV.
The incidents occurred before the FBI changed its disciplinary process
in August 2000, and the new procedures would help dispel concerns
about a double standard, the inspector general said. In addition,
Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) in July 2001 said
the inspector general, not the FBI, would investigate allegations of
misconduct leveled against the agency's senior officials.
Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, a senior
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (news - web sites), renewed
his criticism of how the FBI punishes senior employees for wrongdoing.
"Because of the double standard, too many top officials got away with
lying, cover-ups, obstruction, negligence and using taxpayer money for
personal pleasure," he said.
The FBI said in a statement that it has overhauled its procedures.
"These reforms seek to achieve the FBI's goal of giving all employees
and the American public complete confidence in the FBI's disciplinary
system," the agency said. "The mission of the (Office of Professional
Responsibility) is to fairly and expeditiously identify misconduct
wherever it occurs within the organization, and to appropriately
punish the involved persons without fear or favor to anyone."
The report found that seven senior FBI officials who came to
Washington in October 1997 to attend a retirement dinner for
then-Deputy Director Larry Potts later asked the FBI to pay their
travel expenses, claiming they had gone to the nation's capital on
To make it easier for the officials to seek reimbursement, a
conference was held the day after the dinner. The conference lasted
only 90 minutes and drew only five people, the report said.
The report said one top FBI official — Van Harp, now assistant
director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office but then based
in Cleveland — submitted a voucher saying he had gone to attend a
conference. But Harp did not show up, the inspector general said. Harp
later said he held meetings with 11 officials in Washington, but he
had no appointments scheduled and at least one person was out of the
office, the report said.
"In the face of what was perceived as a flagrant abuse of FBI travel
vouchers, the punishment was only a letter of censure for a few of the
FBI managers involved," the report said. "We believe, based on our
review of the facts and the FBI precedent, that this result was too
The inspector general also discussed the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident,
where white supremacist Randy Weaver's wife was killed by an agency
sharpshooter. Vicki Weaver died on the second day of an 11-day siege
at the couple's northern Idaho cabin, which began with a shootout in
which the Weavers' teenage son and a deputy U.S. marshal were killed.
The government later paid Weaver $3.1 million. The standoff prompted a
nationwide debate on the use of force, By federal agencies.
Six FBI officials who were involved in the incident received
promotions or bonuses while their actions were under investigation.
Harp, part of an FBI team helping the investigation, was later
promoted to head the Cleveland office and received two cash awards
totaling more than $22,000.
A Justice Department investigation found Harp failed to interview key
witnesses and drafted performance evaluations "that appeared to reward
agents for 'correctly' concluding that FBI officials had acted
properly," the report said.
No action was taken against Harp. The inspector general's report said
he should have been punished.
A phone call to the Washington field office, where Harp now works, was
not immediately returned Friday.
Potts, one of the six FBI officials involved, sat on a committee that
decided whether to promote four of the others.
"The appearance of a conflict should have been obvious," the inspector
general wrote. "Such conflicts at minimum feed the appearance of
On the Net:
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