FBI reports on the lurid conduct among its ranks

Senior officials in drag performing a lewd skit about the Spice Girls and another who had an affair with the wife of a mobster - such is life at the FBI, according to the Justice Department.

A report by the Department's inspector general is out this week. It is in response to allegations of preferential treatment for senior FBI officials facing disciplinary proceedings, and other misconduct.

Robert Mueller, the FBI director, said the report showed that transgressions were not allowed to "disappear," as critics claimed. Indeed, some were too lurid to be ignored.

One senior official was ordered to undergo counselling for taking part in the Spice Girls skit which featured crude jokes, a reference to oral sex and a lap dance. In another case, a supervisor and an agent were suspended for not reportinga colleague who was conducting a liaison with the wife of an organised crime figure. The failure "potentially had very serious consequences," the report said.

Another agent made a sexual and racial joke about talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. Pride of place goes to the unnamed senior official who resigned after it emerged he had had affairs with two subordinates.

Herepaid one of his paramours by ensuring she won cash awards in an internal incentives scheme. He then had a prostitute join him on a departmental training trip. Finally, he tried to obstruct the FBI's investigation into his behaviour.

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