Today, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report entitled A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Disciplinary System. In response, FBI Assistant Director John Miller made the following statement:
“We appreciate the OIG’s review of the FBI’s disciplinary system. Importantly, in this third review since 2002, the OIG credits the FBI and documents the consistency, reasonableness, and timeliness of the FBI's disciplinary system.
“Specifically, the report notes the timeliness of all phases of the FBI's disciplinary process improved over the past four years, and the FBI's misconduct investigations were generally thorough, conducted in a consistent manner, and well documented in investigative reports. The report also found most penalty decisions for misconduct reviewed were reasonable as well as the majority of all appellate decisions reviewed.
“With respect to the treatment of Senior Executive Service (SES) employees compared to lower level, non-SES—an issue much scrutinized in previous reviews—the OIG determined that SES employees were three times more likely to be the subject of an investigation than non-SES. In reviewing 17 SES cases, the OIG found the great majority of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility’s (OPR) decisions, 16 of the 17, to be reasonable. (In the 17th case, the OIG said they did not have enough information to make a determination.) The OIG’s findings suggest that SES employees are more likely to have unsubstantiated allegations made against them, which should help further dispel any perceptions of a ‘double standard of discipline’ favoring higher ranking employees.
“Overall we are encouraged to learn that the majority of our employees surveyed believe they would be treated fairly and objectively if they were the subject of a misconduct investigation that went to the OPR for a discipline decision and appeal. The survey response shows that only 11 percent to 15 percent of the FBI's workforce believed they would not be treated fairly. The FBI’s OPR should be commended for those results and for the great strides made in the disciplinary process over the years.
As the report notes, we have addressed all 16 recommendations made by the OIG, and all are all now resolved. These measures include reminding FBI employees that they must promptly report allegations of possible misconduct; strengthening the case management system to ease investigation review and information sharing; clarifying policy related to the evidence standard and to the consideration of unwritten information; and, we are reviewing the make-up and processes for the FBI’s Disciplinary Review Board, with plans to implement a term of service requirement.
“The FBI remains fully committed to making the FBI's disciplinary process completely fair for all employees.”