- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

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."
They said a new meeting was scheduled for Nov. 19, to be attended by Mr. Grassley, but the FBI then determined the session could not continue because a "60 Minutes" film crew was in a hallway near Mr. Grassley's office and, as a result, Mr. Jordan "no longer wished to speak" with either Mr. Grassley or the staff.
"Director Mueller is only feeding the problem that the FBI still suffers from a perception of a double standard for accountability," Mr. Grassley said. "The director needs to stop stonewalling, and Robert Jordan needs to answer the committee's questions about his behavior towards John Roberts and his wife.
"By refusing to let the committee interview Mr. Jordan, Director Mueller is creating the perception that he's more concerned about shielding a senior manager than he is about his zero-tolerance policy against retaliation, which he pledged to the committee under oath," he said.
Mr. Roberts told the committee last year he was threatened by senior FBI managers during an investigation of the bureau's role in the fatal August 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, during which Vicki Weaver, her 14-year-old son, Samuel, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William F. Degan were killed.
He said the 1999 investigation found that several senior FBI supervisors were involved in "serious misconduct" during the incident, but nobody was ever charged or disciplined because of FBI cronyism.
The staff proposal would reduce the LEEU unit within the Office of Professional Responsibility from four to three at a time Congress was seeking to increase OPR's overall manpower by 10 agents and four support personnel.
"Whether intended or not, there exists the reasonable inference that this cut is retaliatory for providing information to Congress and the public," the senators said, adding that the staff cut "dilutes" Mr. Mueller's recent bureauwide message that professional responsibility and ethics were a priority at the FBI.


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