Sexting, drunken domestics and bugging the boss: all in a day’s work for FBI employees

FBI chief reads riot act to America’s crime-busters after report details misdeeds of 1,000 staff

New York

Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity. That’s the motto of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), though you would not know from the antics of some of its agents, who have been caught bugging their boss’s office and sending naked photos of themselves to colleagues.

Recently disclosed internal disciplinary reports document a variety of misdeeds, from cheque fraud to “sexting” and drunk and disorderly behaviour. In one instance, a female FBI employee used her phone “to send nude photographs of herself to other employees”. This, the reports reveal, “adversely affected the daily activities of several squads”. Another employee was caught emailing nude pictures of herself to her  ex-boyfriend’s wife. Both were suspended for 10 days, according to the documents obtained by CNN.

One FBI employee, no doubt applying the skills she picked up on the job, “hid a recording device in [a] supervisor’s office”, according to the reports. “In addition, without authorisation, [the] employee made copies of [the] supervisor’s negative comments about [the] employee that [the] employee located by conducting an unauthorised search of the supervisor’s office and briefcase.”  The revelations are an embarrassment for an agency charged with investigating federal crimes and conducting internal intelligence operations. Its agents feature in scores of Hollywood films, wearing their distinctive blue field jackets with “FBI” emblazoned on the back in bright yellow as they go after terrorists and other enemies of  the state.

But the disciplinary reports, which have been issued to employees as a way to deter future misconduct, show that, when they’re not chasing criminals, some crime-fighters engage in all manner of extra-curricular activities.

One visited a massage parlour and ended up with a  14-day suspension after paying “for a sexual favour”, while another used an agency-issued BlackBerry to “send sexually explicit messages to another employee” and was suspended for  five days.

A different employee was involved in what the reports describe as a “domestic dispute at [his] mistress’s  apartment”. The “dispute” was such that it required police intervention.

“[The] employee was drunk and uncooperative with [the] police,” the report says, and he “refused to relinquish his weapon, making it necessary for the officers to physically subdue him, take the loaded weapon and place [the] employee in handcuffs”.

In all, between 2010 and 2012 the agency had to discipline more than a 1,000 of its 36,0000 employees. Eighty-five had to be fired owing to the severity of their misdeeds. 

“We’re hoping [that] getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people, as well as their supervisors... you can’t do this stuff,” the bureau’s assistant director, Candice Will, told CNN.

“When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.”

The reports don’t name and shame: there are no details of location or job titles.

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