By Investigative Bureau | December 6, 2017
Spanning more than a decade, former FBI directors Robert Mueller and his successor and protégé James Comey relied on their inner circles to help cover up a surging and troubling amount of sexual misconduct complaints filed by physically violated and emotionally battered female FBI agents.
There is a culture of corruption in the FBI. Or the FBI is a culture of corruption.
“They (Mueller and Comey) didn’t care as long as they were insulated politically,” one female FBI insider said. “It’s rampant. People wouldn’t believe it. Agents are being sexually assaulted and they are terrified to speak out.”
While similar sexual abuse in Hollywood has garnered the public’s outrage and attention, the systemic abuse fostered by Mueller and Comey is far worse, according to numerous FBI personnel. By ignoring the abuse instead of confronting it, Mueller and Comey ultimately created a culture of enablers and silencers who often worked together to openly sexually abuse and exploit women in the Bureau, then punish the agents who have the guts to balk or walk.
“I lost everything because I stood up to the sexual abuse,” one female FBI agent said. “I stupidly told (female) agents that if we told the truth we could stop it from happening. It was the biggest mistake of my career. There is no place for honesty in the FBI anymore.”
A veteran male agent reluctantly agreed.
“This is the FBI’s playbook from the seventh floor” one male FBI agent said, alluding to the bosses on the seventh floor of the FBI’s D.C. HQ. “Female agents aren’t here to get promoted; they’re here for one thing. And if they complain about it that’s a big mistake.”
While the fickle Beltway politicians and Americans become equally enraged by a handful of sexual assaults by politicians like Sen. Al Franken and John Conyers, those abuses — although important — pale in comparison to the frequency of what happens daily in the FBI, according to interviews with sources.
During Mueller’s and Comey’s tenure as the head of the FBI — from 2001 to 2017 — countless female FBI agents were sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and almost always marginalized by retaliation when they complained. True Pundit interviewed numerous FBI agents and insiders while researching this troubling story – including direct victims of sexual misconduct – and examined internal complaints obtained through sources as well as public law suits.
A culture of corruption. Sixteen years in the making. A conspicuous conspiracy to sexually harass and cavort.
One high-ranking FBI official estimates there are “several hundred and maybe far more” active sexual harassment and misconduct cases filed by female FBI agents. And those are only the current cases.That doesn’t include the female agents who have remained silent, toiling in their day-to-day FBI responsibilities, fearful of professional retaliation if they speak up, several FBI insiders confirmed.
There are in fact approximately 293 pending cases, based on the statistics maintained by the FBI’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs. While not all are related to female discrimination and sexual harassment, many are. It is impossible to determine exactly how many because the DOJ categorizes complaints such in an archaic manner. So far in 2017, there have been approximately 50 new harassment cases filed, which include general harassment and sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
There are not statistics compiled, however, for sexual harassment cases filed by female agents at the federal EEOC level, in civil court, or through the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. And then there are the dozens of FBI women who remain silent about the abuse. The want to hold onto their jobs and have witnessed the brutal gauntlet others have had to endure in a lost quest for legal relief.
The FBI’s sexual harassment also costs untold millions in taxpayer dollars to defend and settle complaints, grievances and law suits. One Bureau insider and former accountant for a Fortune 100 financial company said the FBI’s unofficial tally during the last decade for the FBI to fight and settle sexual misconduct and harassment cases could eclipse $150 million.
And that is a conservative figure, the FBI official said.
That’s $150 million. Or more. Or perhaps less. Only the FBI knows and that is the point. This is a serious scandal which requires Congressional intervention to ascertain just how many women who dreamed about becoming a FBI Special Agent or FBI analyst — and worked to make that dream their life – ended up battered, bruised and abandoned by bosses like Comey & Mueller who largely through either malfeasance or nefarious intent helped nurture a system of rampant sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Include McCabe here too. And any attempts to change that culture by the victims – sworn FBI agents, analysts and female support personnel — were met with harsh and often vicious repercussions, unexpected in an agency sworn to protect and defend law and order in America.
The result of such sanctioned abuse has given women FBI agents little recourse: female personnel either put up and shut up or spoke up and risked their careers. In fact, many times speaking up to try and squelch sexual harassment cost many female agents their careers because the male hierarchy at the Bureau have been rewarded for retaliating against sexual abuse whistle blowers, according to FBI sources.
Some women lost their marriages, relationships, homes too as well as their careers, by over-leveraging their debt to pay legal fees to fight the FBI’s corrupt infrastructure. One agent, Suzane J. Doucette who was victim of sexual assault by a superior in the Phoenix field office, pursued the FBI and settled her case. But her husband Bradley, also a decorated FBI agent, turned his FBI-issued glock on himself in their bedroom one morning before work and committed suicide while his wife was in the next room. On-the-job and off-the-job stress. All FBI related, including his wife’s case.
Mueller and Comey enabled this culture and did nothing to alter the corrupted and petty Sanhedrin of enablers and abusers who often operated like a cabal of drunken frat boys instead on Special Agents sworn to protect Americans and the Constitution, according to several insiders who spoke to True Pundit.
The rampant sexual abuse can hardly be a surprise at FBI when factoring in that such abuse ifs almost always prevalent in a workplace culture where there are usually other problems: internal and external investigations of upper management, allegations of widespread graft and corruption, bullying, and clandestine political skullduggery.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media sits silent too, ever the Deep State’s sentinels protecting the FBI’s crooked brass, just like the entertainment media squelched the rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood until it spread beyond its control.
The culture of corruption in the FBI has reached an apex. Something needs to change and in a very big way.
Then there’s the pending concern for blackmail. Yes, blackmail. Inside the FBI. Employed as a political or nefarious tool by FBI brass. What better leverage would a superior use to get an unwilling agent to do dirty work – even break the law — than to threaten that agent to expose his infidelity with a FBI colleague – or multiple colleagues — to his wife?
“This is happening more than anyone would ever know,” said one FBI agent who has served under multiple directors. “You realize the people you’re working for are worse than the criminals. This is old-fashioned extortion and it’s out of control.”
According to long-time FBI veterans who began their careers in the 1990s, then-FBI Director Louis Freeh instituted a sweeping disciplinary policy for FBI supervisors soliciting sex with subordinates or any FBI agents engaging in extramarital sexual affairs.
“Freeh would just pull your security clearance because he feared you might be blackmailed,” one FBI veteran said. “And they would make you tell your spouse so there wasn’t any leverage. They don’t do that anymore. Now it’s chaos.”
One such case surfaced this week, when FBI Section Chief Peter Strzok was exposed for engaging in a relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page who is married and works for McCabe. Strzok worked for Mueller’s special counsel team investigating President Donald Trump at the time of the intra-office affair but has since been removed from the Trump Russia probe. In a potential sign that FBI culture could be changing for the better, newly-minted FBI Director Christopher Wray was reportedly angered by the infidelity and has re-assigned Strzok to the human relations department of the Bureau.
But the sexual abuse in the FBI cuts both ways, according to federal sources. Female managers have on occasion sexually harassed male agents or pressured subordinates for sex. This is yet another example of out of control and unchecked workplace harassment at the FBI.
Is the rampant sex among supervisors and their subordinates being green lighted so that the romps can be used as a form or blackmail? That would be a very dastardly and a very clandestine way of controlling would-be whistle blowers that may infringe and threaten other illegal schemes FBI brass is involved in. That is, after all, how blackmail and extortion work. The FBI use such sleight of hand with criminal targets and dupes because it is effective and thorough. Why not use it too on colleagues?
But FBI and its brass is supposed to protect folks – especially their fellow agents of all genders — not condone superiors having sex with subordinates or married agents.
Or having sex while in a government office. In corners of the FBI’s headquarters building. Or its sprawling underground parking garage where CCTV surveillance cameras don’t cover the entire square footage. Or the front steps of the FBI’s D.C. field office. Or a rendezvous with a subordinate support staffer or Agent in a hotel near the field office.
That’s the FBI’s ugly secret. And there is a well-oiled machine in place to keep such cases under wraps. At all the costs are underwritten by the taxpayer. There are many twists and turns to this scandal with many seemingly exceeding the raunchiness of the abuse inflicted by Harvey Weinstein’s and his Hollywood cohorts.
Such cases and suits have been quietly piling up for more than a decade at the FBI. Meanwhile, Mueller and Comey both feigned ignorance, according to several FBI sources. Despite pleas by agents to fire repeated intra-office sexual offenders, many times the male perpetrators were promoted instead to positions with even more clout and power.
Meanwhile, female agents were ostracized and administratively tortured. Some driven to nervous breakdowns, stomach ulcers, a life after exiting the FBI spent in and out of psychotherapy trying to pinpoint what THEY did wrong. This doesn’t include others who turned to alcohol or prescription pills to numb help a spiraling, unexpected life.
“I had supervisors ask me who I was sleeping with and if I was available for sex,” one female agent said. “With guys it is cool to act that way in the office. It’s just the way it is. You get used to it.”
It’s little wonder the amount of female FBI agents has been plummeting as many simply quit and walk away from what was once their dream job, even after the file sexual abuse complaints. Women in the FBI today hold about 12 percent of 220 senior agent positions. But that number has tumbled from 2013 when FBI women held about 20 percent of senior positions.
Of the FBI’s 13,000+ agents roughly 20 percent are women. That sets up a four-to-one male to female ratio in the Bureau which in itself can be a root cause for many of these harassment problems. The challenge is that so many women are walking away from FBI careers because of the harassment it is almost impossible to beef up the number of female agents to alter the lopsided ratio.
At a conference of police chiefs in 2016 Comey acknowledged the FBI was having serious problems retaining female agents. He deemed the situation “a crisis.”
“The big challenge we’ve been confronting over the last two years is, how do we get women and people of color,” Comey said. “That’s been our big trouble and I’ve described it as a crisis.” (NY Times)
Yet Comey never did anything extraordinary to curb the rampant sexual misconduct, several FBI sources said, even though he was asked to help stop abuse.
But no matter how many women the FBI hires and trains it can’t seriously expect to retain stand-up women of character and integrity in such a runaway chauvinistic culture of mental and physical abuse.
“How can you be concerned about recruiting women when you’ve created a sexual-charged minefield at work?” one agent said. “You don’t have a recruiting problem, the FBI has a retention problem because of the sexual harassment culture that has been allowed to fester for years.”
While Mueller certainly did little to curb the growing problems during his tenure, several agents said the sexually-charged environment really blossomed during Comey’s leadership, along with his deputy director Andrew McCabe’s brand of brash leadership.
Under Comey’s refusal to curb rampant abuse, FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. has become a breeding ground for sexual harassment. Similar oppressive environments also thrive in FBI field offices in Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, New York and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the list only gets longer here.
How many sexual harassment cases have agents filed against Bureau colleagues? The number is impossible to ascertain. Some data is shared with the DOJ and reported quarterly but it is easily manipulated, insiders said. A sexual harassment complaint can be tagged as a general harassment complaint or under two dozen other categories. Other data is confidential through the federal EEOC. Not much of the data or cases are ever shared with lawmakers or Congress. And this doesn’t even account for the women who remain silent, afraid to sandbag their careers by trying to do the right thing.
Imagine that. FBI agents who fear doing what is right.
True Pundit contacted Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has oversight of the FBI. Grassley has been proactive with several unfolding FBI scandals including many linked to Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe.
Grassley’s office did not respond to a specific True Pundit inquiry seeking statistical information on the number of sexual harassment and misconduct cases pending against FBI brass filed by subordinates.
One well-placed FBI source, however, said Grassley’s office is aware of the growing number of harassment cases involving women employed by the FBI. And his committee could be investigating that as part of its sweeping ethics examination of Comey and McCabe.
Grassley likely understands the cost to taxpayers here is beyond staggering. The fallout from sexual misconduct and harassment complaints in the bureau likely exceed $120 to $150 million. And, again, that is a conservative estimate. Of course the true amount will likely never be uncovered. The majority of the cases are settled, dropped, or quietly forgotten by the time they are settled. FBI rules keep such complaints private as well.
But law suits are public and tougher to mask. In 2016, Former FBI agent Danielle Marks filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the FBI and also named Comey as a defendant in U.S. District Court in Denver, CO.
Per the Denver Post:
The agents would make lewd jokes about how one of the male agents was having an affair with a female prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Meantime, a supervisory agent was having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female FBI agent, including openly sharing a hotel room during a work conference, the lawsuit says. The suit says the supervisor helped the woman get a position as secretary to Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravanelle, who oversaw the Denver office and recently was transferred to the inspection division at the agency’s headquarters.
Agents would make sexually inappropriate remarks, look at Marks and the other female agent in the unit and say, “I wonder how many zeroes will be at the end of that lawsuit check,” the lawsuit says. It became so common that they would make a sexual comment and say, “Uh oh, add another zero.”
From interviews conducted by True Pundit, one female supervisory agent, just moments before briefing Mueller during a conference-room sit-down, was told by a high-ranking FBI official to sit quietly, like a piece of furniture.
“I was told you just sit there pretty like a piece of furniture,” the agent said. “He said ‘You just sit there and look pretty, that’s what you’re here for.’”
That same agent recalls another story where an Associate Director was having sex in the FBI HQ parking garage with an underling when the interlude was broken up by the FBI Police who maintains security of the headquarters building.
“He got caught running down Pennsylvania Avenue with his pants around his ankles after he ran out of the parking garage with his pants down but he was picked up by FBI Police,” the agent said.
It was the second time the senior agent was caught having sex with a female subordinate in the parking garage, the source said. Instead of being reprimanded, Mueller promoted the senior agent a week after the partial streaking episode.
Filing a complaint against a male agent for sexual misconduct is no simple task for female agents either. While other government employees can use the impartial U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint, FBI agents are forbidden.
Instead, female agents must file the complaint with FBI’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs which is an agency under the directorate of the FBI itself.
“Guess who investigates your case?” one FBI agent lamented. “The FBI. Isn’t that wonderful? Not outside agency. It’s all kept quiet.”
FBI’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs conducts preliminary interviews and tries to get all parties to work out a quiet deal to remedy the complaint.
If that phase doesn’t garner a resolution, agents may file a formal complaint with federal EEOC. But again, those complaints are not public. And many cases can stretch for five years or more before they are resolved. At this level female agents are responsible for underwriting their own legal fees. And may agents – with rock-solid cases – simply drop these cases when they can no longer afford to pay their lawyers.
FBI brass use this flawed system to slow walk cases filed by female agents to try and rack up their personal legal fees so they will be motivated to drop the case.
“One case I know of the agent and their lawyers were up against six government lawyers,” one FBI agent said. “That’s just corrupt. And it gets too expensive to keep the suit active so many women walk away without anything, including their job.”
Perhaps equally alarming, a number of agents who have filed sexual harassment complaints allege the FBI’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs never interviewed the witnesses they submitted who could corroborate their allegations of harassment and sexual abuse. FBI sources had similar stories about their cases getting sandbagged by personnel at the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal Bureau arm that tackles ethics and disciplinary action.
“The entire process is a cruel joke,” one FBI agent said. “If Comey or McCabe or anyone with juice wants the case to vanish, they run it from upstairs and you never have a chance.”
EEOC complaints are not public information until a final case decision is made. If the female agent drops the case before resolution, the complaint remains confidential.
One FBI agent recounted finally receiving her notice of her sexual harassment case hearing date from EEOC, which she believes further boosts her claims of harassment.
“The hearing was about 1,500 miles from my office,” she said. “I’m supposed to pay for my witnesses to travel 1,500 miles to testify?”
Other female agents detailed instances where, after they filed complaints, their supervisors had responded by shadowing them in the field and micromanaging their work or downgraded otherwise glowing personnel evaluations to harm their chances of getting promoted or a pay raise.
The entire process is not cheap for the agent but especially for the taxpayer. When you compile the cost of an agent’s training, expertise, Bureau hierarchy and combine those intangibles with the bloated cost of paying government lawyers, EEOC lawyers, judges, and personnel and resources to defend these suits, the process easily spills over into the millions of dollars.
And that doesn’t include settlements paid to agents who win their cases.