Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley announced that 11 whistleblowers have come forward revealing that FBI managers are now using Loss of Effectiveness orders to retaliate against FBI employees who report wrongdoing in the agency.
“Every time we bring this to the administration’s attention, more whistleblowers come forward,” Grassley said. “These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case. It’s stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch.”
An FBI internal inquiry reportedly agrees that this is a problem. According to whistleblowers, the FBI Office of Integrity and Compliance has drafted a report calling for reform and more transparency in the use of Loss of Effectiveness orders.
The whistleblowers allege that Loss of Effectiveness orders allow managers to bypass the Office of Professional Responsibility and avoid basic due process. Reviews of allegations before the Office of Professional Responsibility give employees the opportunity to defend against those allegations. A Loss of Effectiveness order does not provide an employee a right of appeal or notice of the underlying allegations against them.
Grassley’s latest letter to FBI Director James Comey outlines specific allegations by one whistleblower about how the FBI used a Loss of Effectiveness order to retaliate against him. The whistleblower claims that, at the behest of his supervisor, the FBI Inspection Division issued a Loss of Effectiveness Electronic Communication on fabricated grounds against him in retaliation for his identification of inefficiencies in curriculum management and business process.
Grassley first brought this matter to the attention of Comey in May during a regular oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley followed up on May 22, 2014, with the Justice Department Inspector General asking the office to investigate allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation within the FBI. In a July 18, 2014, letter Grassley pressed Comey for information about the Loss of Effectiveness orders. On September 26, 2014, the FBI finally answered with a letter dated Sept. 25, 2014. This response, which fails to answer many of Grassley’s questions, was sent only after Grassley reminded the FBI of its outstanding response in his most recent letter.
Previous post on Senator Grassley’s oversight of the FBI can be found here.