DOJ IG Reports on 'Misconduct' of a Special Agent 'For Failing to Report an Intimate Relationship'

Susan Jones | September 18, 2019 | 9:29am EDT
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The sculpture at FBI Headquarters in Washington reads "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity." (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

( - The Justice Department inspector general on Tuesday released an investigative summary involving "misconduct" by an "FBI Special Agent in Charge" for failing to report an "intimate relationship with a subordinate and for taking actions that lacked impartiality, demonstrated favoritism toward the subordinate, and contributed to the decline in staff morale."

The summary notes that the "SAC retired during the course of the investigation."

The special agent is not named in the one-page summary, but the situation sounds familiar.

However, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, who had an extra-marital affair with FBI attorney Lisa Page and demonstrated a lack of impartiality in his text messages to her, did not "retire" from the FBI. He was fired, and he later sued the FBI for what he described as a politically motivated termination.

So the investigative summary released on Tuesday apparently involves another Special Agent involved in an "intimate relationship with a subordinate."

According to the one-page summary:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge (SAC), now retired, based on allegations that the SAC committed misconduct by engaging in an intimate relationship with a subordinate and by taking various actions that lacked impartiality and favored the subordinate.

The SAC admitted to the OIG to having engaged in an intimate relationship with the subordinate when the SAC was supervising the subordinate. However, the SAC denied that any actions involving the subordinate lacked impartiality or demonstrated favoritism.

The OIG found that the SAC committed misconduct because the SAC failed to report the relationship to appropriate personnel as required by FBI policy. The OIG also found that several of the SAC’s actions involving the subordinate, including participating in the awards process resulting in the subordinate receiving a performance award, lacked impartiality, demonstrated favoritism, and created an appearance of bias toward the subordinate.

We further found that the SAC’s relationship with the subordinate was a contributing factor in the decline in morale among some staff.

The SAC retired during the course of the OIG investigation.

The OIG has completed its investigation and provided its report to the FBI.

The FBI ethics and policy guide, section, governs “inappropriate superior-subordinate inter-personal relationships.”

It says the superior person “has the greater…responsibility to avoid creating appearances of preferential treatment.”

However, the guide does not specifically address adulterous affairs, as the former FBI counterintelligence chief told Congress last year.

"There is no FBI policy that prohibits somebody from having an affair," FBI Assistant Director E.W. "Bill" Priestap told House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigators on June 5, 2018. "There's no FBI policy that says you can't have an affair, and if you do, you're going to be punished."


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