JANUARY 25, 2006
A new FBI whistleblower lawsuit has led a senior senator to write a letter to the bureau’s director questioning a chronic “double standard” of discipline at the agency. The six-page letter from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley to FBI Director Robert Mueller prominently mentions the case of Judicial Watch client Robert Wright, a veteran FBI agent who was targeted for dismissal for criticizing the bureau’s counterterrorism investigations a few years ago.
The recent case involves a 23-year agent, Cecilia Woods, who exposed her boss’s affair with an informant in Panama, where they were both stationed. The ongoing affair between the senior FBI official, Gil Torrez, and a confidential informant left the FBI agent open to blackmail by a hostile foreign intelligence agency. Regardless, Woods got suspended for 10 days and was later transferred to a less prestigious domestic post. She retired last year.
Grassley’s lengthy letter accuses the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility of routinely imposing harsher disciplinary sanctions on rank and file agents than on supervisors, even when the misconduct is similar. It uses Robert Wright’s case as an example, calling his punishment an “unusually harsh penalty.”
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