Attorney General William Barr recently announced the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is about to conclude its investigation into 2016 FISA abuse and that he has begun reviewing the DOJ’s role in the genesis of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
“My question is, now that President Trump has been exonerated of collusion, is the Justice Department investigating how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier for [a search warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]?” he asked during recent congressional testimony.
There’s little mystery here—the FBI paid informant Christopher Steele (among others), two people subcontracting for the Clinton campaign (here and here), and promoted the hoax to the FBI help Clinton in her bid to defeat Trump in the election. We can also recall complaints of the DOJ targeting criminal prosecution based upon politics, the lawless actions of the deputy attorney general, and a general politicization of the application of the law. Barr has a dumpster fire on his hands.
Inspector General Already Underlining DOJ Problems
Even before the anticipated OIG report on the DOJ’s malfeasance in the 2016 election, however, the OIG has already cataloged many unpunished acts by deep state actors bent on undermining the 2016 election. It found:
The FBI’s media policy, which strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, appeared to be widely ignored during the pre-election period that we reviewed. We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters. We found that the harm caused by leaks, fear of potential leaks, and a culture of unauthorized media contacts influenced FBI officials on consequential investigative decisions.
The OIG also found that at the same time senior FBI officials were supposedly investigating Hillary Clinton for violating rules against using private email for government business, it identified a number of “instances in which senior FBI officials who had leadership and supervisory responsibilities over the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of private email used their own private email accounts for official government business.” Could there ever have been any doubt about the outcome of the Clinton email investigation when senior FBI officials ignored the same rules?
The OIG also noted that DOJ had a problem with failing to use merit to grant promotions and raises. It questioned the DOJ’s observance of whistleblower protection laws. The OIG found “5 instances of retaliation against whistleblowers. In each instance, the managers failed to recognize and adhere to clear laws and policies that protect employees for disclosing evidence of misconduct to lawful recipients.”
DOJ’s culture of hiding and tolerating misconduct within its ranks has claimed real victims. The OIG noted, “Department officials sexually harassed several subordinates, and sexually assaulted one, over a period of at least 10 years.”
DOJ dysfunction is a well-known fact among its own employees. Every year, an employee survey of the agencies that make up the federal government is conducted. All employees are asked to participate, so it’s more than a random sample. The data include real answers from employees who work in the department, and provide a rare window into an agency that confirms the outward appearance of a powerful agency in the grips of moral crisis.
What DOJ Employees Think About Their Employer
Fewer than one in five DOJ respondents to this survey strongly agree that their organization’s senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. About 23 percent either disagree or strongly disagree with that statement.
A little more than 22 percent of responding DOJ employees report having a high level of respect for DOJ’s senior leaders, versus 21.6 percent who either disagree or strongly disagree with that statement. Around 13 percent of respondents report being “very satisfied” with the policies and practices of their senior leaders, compared to 25.1 percent reporting “dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.”
Only 26.6 percent of respondents strongly agree that they can “disclose a suspected violation of any law, rule or regulation without fear of reprisal.” A little more than 18 percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement. Only 9.7 percent of respondents strongly agree with the statement, “Promotions in my work unit are based on merit.” And 36.6 percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement.
Only 6.9 percent strongly agree that in their work unit, steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve. More than 43 percent either disagree or strongly disagree with that statement. Likewise, only 8.5 percent strongly agree that differences in performance are recognized in a meaningful way. More than 35 percent disagree or strongly disagree.
Nearly 12 percent of respondents strongly agree that awards in the employee’s work unit depend on how well employees perform their jobs. Roughly 33 percent disagree or strongly disagree. And 6.4 percent of respondents strongly agree that pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs. Meanwhile, 46.6 percent disagree or strongly disagree.
About 16 percent of respondents strongly agree that arbitrary action, personal favoritism, and coercion for partisan political purposes are not tolerated. Almost 28 percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement and 23.1 percent said they had no opinion on the topic. Even adding the “agree” responses with the “strongly agree” responses, still fewer than half of respondents agreed.
Americans should consider the DOJ’s own lack of confidence in the integrity of their senior leadership to be a national crisis. The DOJ controls the FBI and federal prosecution. It has the power to destroy lives with the stroke of a pen. We just endured a special counsel that executed 500 search warrants, 2,800 subpoenas, and 500 interrogations of American citizens. Our Founders and Framers feared out of control national law enforcement and they would weep at DOJ’s contempt for its constitutional masters.
We should all demand the highest standards of integrity in the department or be prepared to submit to tyranny.