The Office of the Inspector General of the FBI issued its report on the failures of the FBI in handling the investigation of the sexual assaults of female gymnasts at Michigan State by Dr. Laurence G. Nassar (who now sits in prison for life). Those failures are shocking in either incompetence or callousness or both. The FBI is in shabby condition. Something deeply cultural is wrong in this agency.
Here’s a timeline on what went on as the Nassar serial sexual assault complaints arose:
• In July 2015, following a USA Gymnastics internal investigation into allegations of sexual assault by Nassar against multiple gymnasts, USA Gymnastics President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen D. Penny, Jr., reported the Nassar allegations to the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office.
• For the next six weeks, the Indianapolis Field Office talked with three gymnasts, kept limited records, and notes and made no further efforts or inquiry.
• The Indianapolis Field Office did not advise state or local authorities about the allegations and did not take any action to mitigate the risk to gymnasts who Nassar continued to treat.
• The Indianapolis agents and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) determined that, if the FBI had jurisdiction, venue would be most appropriate in the Western District of Michigan and the FBI’s Lansing Resident Agency, where MSU is located and where Nassar treated patients.
• The AUSA advised the Indianapolis Field Office on September 2 to transfer the case to the FBI’s Lansing Resident Agency. However, the Indianapolis Field Office failed to do so, despite informing USA Gymnastics on September 4 that it had transferred the matter to the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.
• After 8 months of no further FBI inactivity, USA Gymnastics officials contacted the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and met with that office in May 2016 to report the same allegations provided to the Indianapolis Field Office in July 2015.
• When the Los Angeles Field Office contacted the Indianapolis Field Office, the agent in charge said that he had done the paperwork to transfer the case to Detroit. Such transfer paperwork was never located during the investigation.
• The Los Angeles Field Office did open an investigation but did not notify local authorities nor did it take any steps to protect the gymnasts from further contact with Nassar.
• While all of this was going on, an agent in the Indianapolis Field Office, who was nearing retirement, was engaged in discussions with Stephen D. Penny for a job with the U.S. Olympic Committee.
• When the Indianapolis Star broke the Nassar story (and won a Pulitzer for doing so), agents in the Indianapolis Field Office were untruthful in responding to media questions. An agent in the Indianapolis Field Office told a reporter that his office had issued detailed reports to both the Detroit and Los Angeles offices. There were no such reports.
• The Indianapolis Field Office did not document the September 2015 victim interview in a report until 17 months after the interview occurred. The report was drafted in February 2017 and included materially false information and omitted material information.
So, what we have are agents not doing their jobs, lying to others in the agency and to the media, engaging in conflicts of interest as they let allegations lie flat, and backdating reports to make it look like they were doing their jobs. Initially, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute the agents involved. However, on October 5, 2021, the Justice Department announced that it was reviewing its decision not to prosecute.
Add to these shenanigans the Andy McCabe saga. The OIG Report on the shenanigans surrounding the alleged Russian conspiracy concluded that Mr. McCabe “lacked candor” (that would be soft language for “lied) four times, three of which were under oath. Mr. McCabe had been fired and lost his full pension, and the case was referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. The FBI, backed down after Mr. McCabe filed suit. In its infinite wisdom, and perhaps as a means of preserving its poisonous culture, the FBI settled the lawsuit by allowing Mr. McCabe to officially retire, obtain $200,000 in missed pension payments, and have his record expunged of any mention of his firing. If you read the OIG report on his conduct, you will be stunned that the FBI surrendered. Mr. McCabe is not to be trusted.
But there’s more. At the direction of U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland, the FBI will be unleashed, with full national security authority, to investigate parents who are showing up at school board meetings to be heard on the content of school curricula, sexual assaults in school bathrooms, and questions about mask requirements. Thank goodness our federal gumshoes are pursuing these scallywags. The national security apparatus let loose on ordinary citizens because of their rhetoric at school board meetings should send a chill down everyone’s spine. Politics aside, these are bad behaviors.
This agency needs a leader. This agency needs to be reined in with discipline doled out and not so easily reversed. This agency is frightening in its utter disrespect of law, order, and rights. Sadly, no one is willing to undertake changes, reforms, terminations, discipline, tear gas, Pine-Sol, and whatever else it takes to clean this joint up and out and restore honor and credibility.