The motto for the Federal Bureau of Investigation is supposed to be “fidelity, bravery, integrity.” “FBI” Get it? I am tempted to come up with a different motto that fits the initials and the character of many of the agents. But this is a family friendly blog.
So let me ask, what kind of people need this sort of correction?:
“‘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,’ FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN this week. ‘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 “quarterlies” are reports about disciplinary cases that the FBI directors hope will teach other agents not to act like fools or perverts. You can read some of them here (pdf). I suppose there is no reason to expect FBI investigators to behave better than Secret Service agents or DEA agents. But while prostitutes are immoral, using official mobile phones just to show off seems a lot more immature and unstable.
“FBI employees were disciplined for their transgressions, including one woman who — according to the reports — “used (a) personal cell phone to send nude photographs of herself to other employees” which “adversely affected the daily activities of several squads.” Another FBI worker e-mailed a “nude photograph of herself to ex-boyfriend’s wife.” Both employees received 10-day suspensions. Another who visited a massage parlor “and paid for a sexual favor from the masseuse” received a 14-day suspension. And an employee who used a government-issued BlackBerry “to send sexually explicit messages to another employee” was suspended for five days.”
How widespread is the problem? Out of 36 thousand employees, the FBI had to discipline over a thousand in the last two years. 85 were fired. Furthermore, these problems are very similar to the ones CNN discovered in 2011. Not much has changed.
I can’t say I’m very surprised. There have been reports for years that the FBI is pretty much the ideal organization to frame the accused, starting with their joke of a crime lab. The repeated stories of FBI methods of hiding information from defense lawyers and FOIA requests also raises character questions. I’ve always wondered what sort of people would recruit someone to be a terrorist, pose as a terrorist and offer equipment that the person would never have been able to get his hands on, and then bust him for a terrorist plot.
I’m sure that there are many times that the FBI performs its tasks well and that there are many people who do live up to the motto, “fidelity, bravery, integrity.” But I suspect that these people are kept compartmentalized from others, whose flexible morals allow them to perform acts that aren’t really compatible with constitutional government. Even if the vast majority of agents are exemplary, the fact remains that the Bureau’s moral standards are really low–as anyone can see by looking at what an agent can do and yet not be immediately fired.