FBI Ethics-Unit Cuts Called 'Retaliatory'; Training Group Found Double Standard of discipline.(NATION)

Article excerpt


An FBI decision to assign fewer agents to an ethics training unit "might reasonably be perceived as retaliatory" because of the unit's recent findings of a double standard of discipline for FBI senior executives and the rank and file, two Senate Judiciary Committee members say.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and panel chairman, and a senior Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, said the 25 percent cut was ordered by FBI Assistant Director Robert J. Jordan while he was under investigation by the committee and the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General.

Mr. Jordan came under fire last month after he "angrily" confronted John Roberts, chief of the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and overseer of the FBI's Law Enforcement Ethics Unit (LEEU) after a "60 Minutes" broadcast in which Mr. Roberts discussed a double standard of discipline within the FBI.

Mr. Jordan reportedly also later humiliated Mr. Roberts' wife, who also works at LEEU, about her husband's "60 Minutes" appearance.

"We believe that ethics training is a critical component of the instruction program for incoming FBI agents," Mr. Leahy and Mr. Grassley said in a letter Friday to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. "A strong moral compass and sense of ethical behavior are the anchors of good law enforcement.

"Given the importance of that mission, and recent legislation calling for expansion of the personnel in [the Office of Professional Responsibility], we are interested in the reasons that Robert J. Jordan ... recently decided to cut the permanent instructor staff of the LEEU by 25 percent," they said.

Mr. Leahy and Mr. Grassley noted in the letter the FBI Reform Act required the office to include in its annual report an analysis of whether a double standard of discipline was being applied and to determine whether Mr. Mueller and other key officials were following recommendations by career internal affairs officers.

The senators already had asked Mr. Mueller to make Mr. Jordan and FBI Executive Assistant Director Wilson Lowery available for questioning by the committee's staff on Nov. 9 to "explain the alleged retaliation" against Mr. Roberts. Instead, the letter said, the FBI "took the unprecedented position that these officials would not speak with Senate staff without a United States senator participating. …