A senior FBI official violated the agency’s policy by not reporting a romantic relationship with a subordinate, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) inspector general stated in a report last week.
A summary of the report (pdf) from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which didn’t identify the official, states that the official allowed the romantic relationship to “negatively affect an appropriate and professional superior-subordinate relationship and to disrupt the workplace by interfering with the ability of other FBI employees to complete their work.”
In violation of the FBI’s policies, the official “failed” to report the relationship in a “timely” manner, the report also states.
The official, whom the report identified as an “assistant director” of an FBI sub-agency, “participated in a hiring or organizational decision involving the subordinate,” which violates the bureau’s policy.
The inspector general’s office said it has completed its investigation into the official. The report was sent to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to determine what additional steps may be taken regarding the matter.
It isn’t known if the FBI official will face any punishment following the publication of the report. The summary doesn’t suggest that the subordinate was harassed or mistreated.
The Washington Post, which cited current and former law enforcement officials, identified the official as Jill Tyson, the assistant director of the bureau’s Office of Congressional Affairs since 2019.
The latest report is another black mark against the FBI. Horowitz found in July that the agency’s Indianapolis office mishandled sexual abuse allegations against former Team USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and said that agents lied to investigators.
Horowitz’s office has also revealed that a senior FBI official improperly took gifts from journalists on several occasions and had unauthorized contact with them. According to reports, the inspector general’s office said that the official had “received items of value from members of the media” and had “numerous unauthorized contacts with the media” between 2014 and 2016.
“When later contacted by the [inspector general’s office] for a voluntary interview, the Senior FBI Official declined to be interviewed,” the office wrote.
It also noted that it has “the authority to compel testimony from current Department employees upon informing them that their statements will not be used to incriminate them in a criminal proceeding.” But the office doesn’t “have the authority to compel or subpoena testimony from former Department employees, including those who retire or resign during” the course of the investigation, according to the inspector general’s office.
Former President Donald Trump and his allies have long accused the FBI of colluding with mainstream media outlets by leaking sensitive information to them on a variety of issues, including unsubstantiated claims that his 2016 presidential campaign coordinated with Russia to win the election. Horowitz found in December 2019 that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page was the subject of improper surveillance beginning in 2016 and identified 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the case.
The DOJ didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.