The FBI’s pattern of unresponsiveness is troubling and has left countless victims unprotected, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing into the bureau’s botched handling of the Larry Nassar investigation.
Grassley has been trying to meet with FBI Director Christopher Wray for more than a year after the FBI weaponized an information leak against him and Sen. Ron Johnson.
Grassley calls BULL HOCKEY on Wray’s posture that he’s accountable and/or transparent, noting he’s failed to answer questions about yet another troubling, politicized briefing that FBI weaponized against him and Ron Johnson.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 15, 2021
In May, Sens. Johnson and Grassley pressed FBI officials after seemingly confidential information was leaked to the public after a secure briefing in August 2020. The senators pointed to potential partisan “leaks” to reporters which the Wall Street Journal noted were used to “smear Mr. Johnson and his report on Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, suggesting that he’d ignored FBI warnings and thus may have been manipulated by the Kremlin.”
Before that, in a letter back in May 2019, the senators had pointed to texts and emails from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that demonstrated “the need to investigate leaks from agencies or entities other than FBI.”
Grassley said on Wednesday that Wray would not address the senators’ concerns about the leaks from the August briefing. The bureau followed the same pattern of non-responsiveness in the Larry Nassar case, Grassley added.
In July, a report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General confirmed that the FBI turned a blind eye to allegations against disgraced doctor Nassar while he abused hundreds of young women, including Team USA Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
“I’ve asked Director Wray to meet with me regarding a very troubling briefing that I received August 2020 from the FBI, and which was later weaponized against me and Sen. Johnson’s oversight,” Grassley said in Wednesday’s hearing, referencing the leaks he condemned in May. “Director Wray and his staff have ignored my request to meet, mimicking the pattern here with the Nassar case — non-responsiveness.”
Although Grassley and Johnson requested a meeting with Wray and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, he alleged that Wray had been consistently unresponsive. Parallel to the FBI’s previous delays and inaction, Grassley said, is the bureau’s neglect in the Nassar case.
“Children suffered needlessly because of multiple agents in multiple offices that the FBI neglected to share Nassar’s allegations with their law enforcement counterparts at the state and local levels,” Grassley said.
As former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley previously convened a hearing on the importance of protecting young athletes from abuse. In 2018, Grassley testified before the Senate Commerce Committee and about his concerns with the FBI’s handling of the Nassar investigation. The recent inspector general report on the FBI’s handling of Nassar found that the FBI knew of Nassar’s abusive streak for years and did nothing.
When the report was released this summer, Senate Judiciary Committee leaders confirmed Wednesday’s oversight hearing to hold the bureau accountable. “The FBI owes the American people an accounting for its failure to protect these children, and explanation for how it plans to do better in the future,” Grassley said in July.
Clearly, the bureau’s corrupt and incompetent leaders placed publicity and image before victims’ protection, Grassley said at Wednesday’s hearing.
“Ensuring that truthful information was provided about the FBI’s role in this investigation was clearly not the main priority. This is a serious problem at the heart of the FBI, not a case of a few errant agents,” he said.”If there’s one thing the inspector general’s report illustrates, it’s this: We need to make sure the bureau is both more effective and held more accountable.”