(NationalSentinel) Just four of 14 FBI officials who were cited or identified as having mishandled or misused classified data were relieved of their duties and fired by the Justice Department, according to documents published on Tuesday by legal watchdog organization Judicial Watch.
The remaining 10 employees, meanwhile were lightly disciplined, ranging from the four who received only letters of censure in their personnel files to the six who were suspended without pay for periods ranging from one to 60 days, though the average suspension was about 10.5 days.
The 14 agents were all referred to the bureauâ€™s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for action, an obscure but powerful division within the FBI with the power to, according to its website, probe “certain misconduct allegations involving federal law enforcement agents when they relate to a department attorneyâ€™s alleged professional misconduct,” it says.
â€œIf OPR finds professional misconduct in a particular case, a different officeâ€”the Professional Misconduct Review Unitâ€”reviews OPRâ€™s findings and determines the appropriate discipline,” the site notes further.
The most prominent former official fired for mishandling classified information was former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (above). He was dismissed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions inÂ March 2018Â for a lack of candor regarding the leaking classified information to a reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Fired FBI Director James Comey admitted under oath during testimony to Congress that he leaked the same information with the goal of triggering a special counsel investigation against POTUS Donald Trump.
It was successful, as former Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the spring of 2017, a few months after Trump was inaugurated.
Sessions said a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation â€œconcluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candorâˆ’including under oathâˆ’on multiple occasions.
â€œPursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Departmentâ€™s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.â€
McCabe was directly involved with the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, in a statement, noted that the lack of discipline meted out to FBI officials for leaks is contributing to them.
â€œNo wonder the FBI was leaking so profusely â€¦ Only three of the 14 employees found to have made an unauthorized disclosure were dismissed from the FBI,â€ said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in aÂ statementÂ accompanying release of the documents.
â€œAnd even though Andrew McCabe was fired and referred for a criminal investigation for his leak, no prosecution has taken place,â€ Fitton added.
Judicial Watch said it obtained the records via a January 2019 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that sought:
- All complaints, referrals, or other reports received by the FBIâ€™s Office of Professional Responsibility related to the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and/or classified information by any employee of the FBI.
- Any records documenting the closure or other final disposition of any complaint, referral, or other report described in part one of this request.
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