“Judicial Watch announced today it received records of 14 referrals of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employees to the organization’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or classified information. The disclosure comes off the heels of Judicial Watch’s uncovering a FBI report detailing fired FBI Director James Comey kept FBI documents on President Trump at his house. Comey also admitted to leaking these documents.
Although the FBI’s OPR does not have its own website, according to the DOJ’s OPR, leak allegations may come, “from a variety of sources, including U.S. Attorney’s offices and other Department components, courts, Congress, media reports, other federal agencies, state and local government agencies, private citizens, private attorneys, criminal defendants, civil litigants, and self-referrals. OPR also regularly conducts its own searches to identify judicial findings of misconduct against Department attorneys.”
One referral obtained by Judicial Watch that appears to refer to former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe was closed on March 20, 2018 and states as a mitigating factor that the “Employee was facing unprecedented challengers and pressures.”
(Name redacted) (DOJ/O&R) Closed: 3/20/2018 References: 2.5, 2.6, 4.10
SES [Senior Executive Service] employee released the FBI Sensitive information to a reporter and lacked candor not under oath and under oath when questioned about it, in violation of Offense Codes 4.10 (Unauthorized Disclosure – Sensitive Information); 2.5 (Lack of Candor- No Oath); and 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).
The proposed decision in this matter was made by the AD, OPR. The final decision was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. DOK retains final decision-making authority for certain high-ranking FBI officials.
MITIGATION: Employee as (redacted) years of FBI service and a remarkable performance record. Employee was facing unprecedented challengers and pressures.
AGGRAVATION: Employee held an extremely high position and was expected to comport himself with the utmost integrity. Lack of candor is incompatible with the FBI’s Core Values.
FINAL ACTION(S): OPR PROPOSED DECISION Proposed DISMISSAL
OPR FINAL DECISION: DISMISSAL
The records show that penalties for unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and/or classified information ranged from no action (due to administrative closure) to, as in the case of McCabe, dismissal. Other FBI employees’ offenses reported in the documents list several cases in which the final action was less severe than OPR’s proposal:
- An unidentified employee was fired. The case was closed in July 2016.
- An unidentified employee was given a one-day suspension without pay. The case was closed in April 2016.
- The following year, an unidentified employee received a five-day suspension without pay, and the case was closed administratively in April 2017.
- An SES agent who “misused an FBI database, and provided sensitive information to a former FBI employee” was reported to have had as mitigation that he felt he “had the support of his Division to use his discretion.” OPR proposed a 15-day suspension, but the final decision was to give a letter of censure. This case was closed in June 2017.
- An unidentified employee was fired. The case was closed in May 2018.
- An unidentified employee was recommended for dismissal but received a 45-day suspension. The case was closed in October 2017.
- An unidentified employee was given a 14-day suspension. The case was closed in March 2016.
- An unidentified employee, who was cited for misuse of an FBI database and unauthorized disclosure of classified/law-enforcement sensitive/grand jury information, was given a 12-day suspension. The case was closed in January 2016.
- An unidentified employee received a letter of censure. The case was closed in August 2016.
- An unidentified employee was given a letter of censure. The case was closed in October 2016.
- An unidentified employee was accused of “Investigative deficiency – improper handling of documents or property in the care, custody or control of the government; unauthorized disclosure – classified/law enforcement sensitive/grand jury information” and “failure to report – administrative.” It was proposed that they be given a 30-calendar day suspension without pay; the final decision from OPR was that they were given a 10-calendar day suspension without pay. This case was closed in February 2018.
- An unidentified employee was fired. This case was closed in October 2017.
- An unidentified employee was given a letter of censure. It was proposed that they be fired, but the final decision was a 60-day suspension without pay. The case was closed in January 2019.
“No wonder the FBI was leaking so profusely. Collectively, these documents show lenient treatment for evident criminal activity. Only four of the 14 employees found to have made an unauthorized disclosure were dismissed from the FBI,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And even though Andrew McCabe was fired and referred for a criminal investigation for his leak, no prosecution has taken place.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 8/06/2019)