Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 18, 2004

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691


STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER ISSUED BY
SENATOR CHARLES E. GRASSLEY ON FEBRUARY 18, 2004,
REGARDING THE FBI DISCIPLINARY PROCESS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The following statement was issued by Assistant Director Cassandra Chandler in response to Senator Charles E. Grassley's letter of February 18, 2004, to Director Robert S. Mueller, III, regarding the FBI's internal study of the Bureau's disciplinary process.

"Senator Grassley issued a letter earlier today taking issue with the FBI's internal disciplinary process on a number of fronts. It is important that the American public understand that the Bureau has gone to great lengths to improve its internal disciplinary process and bolster confidence in its effectiveness and impartiality.

"First, under Director Mueller, all allegations of misconduct within the FBI are referred to the Office of Inspector General to ensure that such allegations receive external review.

"Second, the Director commissioned a study by former Attorney General Griffin Bell and former FBI Associate Director Dr. Lee Colwell to review the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). This study includes the review of voluminous documentation and statistical data regarding matters referred to the OPR. This study will result in recommendations for changes to the disciplinary process. Once the report has been completed and reviewed, the Director will undertake the reforms needed to implement their recommendations. Senator Grassley has had a long-standing interest in the Bureau's internal disciplinary process and the FBI has kept him and his staff apprised throughout the Commission's review and has invited their input at every stage. The FBI will provide Senator Grassley a copy of the Commission's final report and fully brief him and his staff.

"Third, the Director has communicated clearly and frequently to all employees that the Bureau takes seriously its commitment to holding its employees to the highest standards of conduct and integrity; that internal discipline must be imposed impartially and without regard to rank; and, that whistleblowers and all others who raise legitimate complaints of misconduct within the Bureau will be protected from retaliation.

"In response to these measures, Senator Grassley wrote in a personal letter to Director Mueller, dated May 28, 2003, 'I applaud your decision to appoint an outside review panel to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). I appreciate that you recognize the significant challenges facing OPR and the reform it needs.' Senator Grassley again commended the Director in a public hearing on July 23, 2003.

"Today's letter from Senator Grassley raises concerns about a report from the year 2000 that examined anecdotal evidence relating to a number of employees who had been dismissed, resigned or retired while under investigation due to substantiated acts of criminal and serious misconduct during the time period of 1986 to 1999. This well intentioned study was used to identify and examine behavioral and ethical trends of FBI agents removed from duty. A copy of the report was provided to Senator Grassley in July, 2003.

"Director Mueller is committed to undertaking the reforms necessary to strengthen the disciplinary process within the FBI and ensure that it is fair, efficient and credible. Any allegation of wrongdoing or impropriety by FBI employees is taken seriously and aggressively investigated. Nothing better ensures this standard than a fair and equitable disciplinary process that applies equally to all employees."

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