FBI agents have a longstanding pattern of breaking rules on investigations and the bureau’s efforts to solve them did not eliminate the problems, according to more than six years of internal reviews obtained by The Washington Times.
The previously undisclosed data covering 2013 to 2019 documents more than 1,600 instances of broken rules on cases that involved investigations that do not require a warrant, the use of informants and undercover agents, and on sensitive matters involving people engaged in politics, government, the news media and religious groups.
Mike German, a Brennan Center fellow who formerly worked undercover as an FBI agent, said the rule-breaking detailed in the audits are “the tip of the iceberg.” Mr. German, who left the bureau in 2004 and authored the 2019 book “Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy,” said the actual problem is likely far worse than the public knows.
“The culture is one of impunity,” Mr. German said. “The FBI leadership controls what gets approved and what doesn’t, regardless of the rules.”
The Times first reported in March about internal FBI audits in 2018 and 2019 showing misconduct by agents. These newly revealed documents portray a persistent pattern of rule-breaking since at least 2013.