February 24, 2003The Honorable Robert S. Mueller
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535
Dear Director Mueller,
I write to bring to your attention the troubling actions and statements of Robert Jordan, the Assistant Director of the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility.
As you are aware, the Justice Department Inspector General has issued a report on the investigation of allegations that Jordan retaliated against Unit Chief John Roberts after Roberts appeared on the CBS news show 60 Minutes and made critical statements about the FBI.
The report substantiates that Jordan did retaliate against Roberts in several ways, and that Jordan "exercised poor judgement" in his actions towards Roberts. In particular, Jordan passed Roberts over for a promotion for duty even though Roberts had held the post in the past and had seniority. Jordan also made an ambiguous comment that clearly implied Roberts would suffer for his statements on 60 Minutes.
These findings seriously damage Jordan's credibility and raise questions about whether he has the leadership abilities to run OPR, an office whose head must be beyond reproach.
I have other concerns about Jordan's recent statements and behavior, based on his December 11, 2002, interview with senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – myself, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Patrick Leahy.
Contrary to what Jordan told us during his interview and to what he has told you, the double standard in discipline remains a problem at the FBI, as demonstrated by the cases listed below in this letter.
Second, Jordan has shown he is arrogant, a characteristic that is unacceptable for a person in his position.
Third, Jordan has tolerated other FBI officials' unprofessional and disparaging statements about Roberts.
A leader of your high standards could not possibly believe he is being well served by someone with these problems, not to mention the IG's criticisms of Jordan. For the sake of the FBI, its credibility among its employees and confidence with the public, you should seriously consider whether Jordan is the best person to run OPR. I await an explanation of your plans regarding this matter.
First, OPR has investigated and adjudicated several cases recently which indicate the double standard in discipline has remained a problem since September 11, 2001, as Roberts stated on 60 Minutes.
The first example is one Jordan should be well aware of. In short, OPR investigated both a Special Agent in Charge (SAC) from an office in Tennessee and a special agent from Sacramento for making inappropriate remarks of a racial and sexual nature. As the facts below show, the SAC's behavior was more egregious than the agent's. Despite that, the SAC received non-disciplinary counseling, which amounts to a lecture; while the agent was disciplined with a letter of censure, which marks his personnel record for three years and could affect opportunities for promotions. The disparate treatment is clear.
Roberts notified Jordan of this example of a double standard in discipline before 60 Minutes even aired on October 27, 2002. Roberts sent Jordan a routing slip (see attached for copy) dated October 17, 2002. The original routing slip had a pink tab with the word "SPECIAL" attached to it, which meant Jordan should give it urgent attention.
This example has two double standard problems. First, the SAC should have received a harsher punishment than the agent. The SAC, as a manager of a diverse workforce and with his many years of experience, knows better (or should know better), and he should set a good example for his subordinates.
Second, the double standard is even more egregious in this case because the SAC made his inappropriate remarks several times in the presence of both FBI employees and non-employees. On the other hand, the agent made inappropriate remarks in one instance, and only in front of FBI employees. I encourage you to examine the two cases so you can make your own judgement about the double standard and Mr. Jordan's responsibility for this matter. The file number for the SAC's case is 263-HQ-1358988.
The disparate treatment accorded the SAC and agent for inappropriate remarks of a racial and sexual nature is not the only example of a double standard since September 11, 2001, as Mr. Roberts stated in his 60 Minutes interview.
In these cases set forth below, senior level officials, often with Senior Executive Service (SES) status, either received less discipline than would an agent; or they were promoted in spite of an investigation or even being found guilty – or both. Agents in the past have received more severe discipline than did the senior officials in these examples, just like the previous example of the SAC and the agent.
1) An inspector working at headquarters was investigated for allegations of nepotism, specifically, obtaining a job in the FBI for his daughter. After September 11, 2001, he was suspended for 15 days. Not long after this discipline, he was promoted to a deputy assistant director. The file number is 263-HQ-1323899.
2) An Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) was alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, which resulted in favoritism. I understand that these very serious charges are still pending. However, while the ASAC was still under investigation, he was promoted to the position of section chief and given Senior Executive Services (SES) status. The case (file number 263-HQ-1388376) was opened, and the promotion occurred, after September 11, 2001.
3) A section chief, in his prior position as an ASAC, was accused of "failing to report misconduct" involving another employee's misuse of FBI property. While the matter was still under adjudication, he was promoted to deputy assistant director. He was then found guilty and given a letter of censure, even though agents found guilty of the same violation usually receive a more severe level of discipline. The investigation, punishment and promotion all occurred after September 11, 2001. The file number is 263-HQ-1368926.
4) A section chief was found to have violated the weapons discharge policy and was given a letter of censure, whereas non-SES employees would receive a minimum suspension of three days for the same violation. Moreover, the section chief was promoted to the position of deputy assistant director shortly after receiving his lighter-than-usual punishment. He was investigated and punished after September 11, 2001. The file number is 263-HQ-1360355.
These cases show the problem of a double standard in discipline still plagues the FBI, hurting agent morale and damaging the public's confidence.
Additionally, Jordan betrayed his ignorance about one of the FBI's worst examples of coverups, a lack of accountability and the double standard in discipline – the siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the resulting investigations of wrongdoing. Jordan stated during his December interview with the senators that he was "knowledge free" about Ruby Ridge, even though the IG in November had released a report, entitled "A Review of Allegations of a Double Standard of Discipline at the FBI," that detailed misconduct during the siege and the investigations into the incident.
As head of OPR, Jordan should already be knowledgeable about one of the FBI's darkest instances of misconduct and coverup, simply so that he can ensure the problems don't occur again. Also, Jordan's duties should have required him to be involved with responding to the IG's report. To paraphrase an old saying, willful ignorance of the past will only lead to repeating in the future.
In a more general sense, the FBI acknowledges the double standard in discipline remains a problem. Federal law requires that SES officials found guilty of misconduct cannot be suspended for less than 15 days. As a result, many SES officials at the FBI receive letters of censure while agents would receive suspension for similar conduct, as the DOJ-IG noted in its November report on the double standard in discipline. In meetings, you have personally asked that I make an effort to change that legal requirement. I attempted to do so with Sen. Leahy in the FBI Reform Act, which I hope you will support.
A second major problem with Jordan is the level of arrogance and lack of remorse he has displayed.During his interview with myself and the two other senators in December, Jordan was arrogant from the first sentence, displaying no regret or remorse for the suffering he caused to Roberts and his wife, Brenda Roberts.
Jordan indicated that he was calculating and premeditative in his behavior toward Roberts. In his opening statement to the committee, AD Jordan said, "...and I will tell you that everything that happened here, that you want to talk about, was something that was done intentionally on my part, something that I thought through and I anticipated this very meeting."
As you know, Brenda Roberts became very upset during the all-employee meeting as Jordan addressed the 60 Minutes episode. Afterwards, she was sobbing and had to receive medical attention for high blood pressure. Despite causing her so much grief, Jordan indicated he has no regrets.
Sen. Leahy asked him, "Do you believe you did anything wrong at that all-employees' meeting?" Jordan responded, "No, sir. My quandary sitting here is that if the same thing happened tomorrow, the manager in me would so the same thing."
A third problem with Jordan is his response to negative comments about a subordinate, specifically Roberts.
During his interview with us, Jordan disclosed that his predecessor, Michael Defeo, made derogatory remarks about Roberts. Jordan related that when he took over OPR, Defeo advised him that "one of the problems I was going to face was any attempt to supervise John Roberts ... that he felt that John undermined him and found that John immediately ran to the Senate with any issue that came up..."
Defeo's comments indicate an unprofessional grudge against Roberts. This is the type of information Jordan should have reported to the IG for the investigation of retaliation against Roberts and others who had investigated senior officials for misconduct. Jordan's failure to report this misconduct is significant. The IG's report on the retaliation after 60 Minutes contained other examples of Jordan's inappropriate response to disparaging remarks about Roberts.
I agree with you that integrity in the FBI is important. That's why I bring this criticism to your attention – not to tear down, but so you can fix what's wrong, however painful or embarrassing it may be at the moment.
Jordan's actions toward Roberts and his wife brought a cloud over OPR. It is your responsibility to maintain integrity and honesty at the FBI. I question how this can be done if Jordan stays in his position, and I would appreciate a personal response from you on the matter.
Also, to further examine the FBI's continuing problem with the double standard in discipline, I request you provide my staff with the files mentioned earlier that are examples of a double standard in discipline. The case numbers are:– 263-HQ-1351744
Sincerely,Charles E. Grassley
cc: Honorable Glenn A. Fine
Department of Justice
Sen. Orrin Hatch
Senate Judiciary Committee
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Senate Judiciary Committee