FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that the bureau has begun taking steps to address the “errors of judgment” identified in the inspector general’s new report.
The report details a range of failures on the part of the FBI in investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Wray said training will focus on the problems it raised. Specifically, he said employees will be “accountable for any misconduct,” educated about the report’s findings, and drilled on proper procedures.
He said the bureau has already targeted some of the employees whose conduct was in the report.
“First, we’re going to hold employees accountable for any potential misconduct,” Wray said. “We’ve already referred conduct highlighted in the report to our disciplinary arm, OPR, which is the FBI’s independent Office of Professional Responsibility.”
“We’re going to adhere to the appropriate disciplinary process and once that process is complete we won’t hesitate to hold people accountable for their actions,” he added.
The report showed how some FBI investigators privately shared how they wanted to “stop” President Donald Trump from being elected, along with a series of other embarrassing actions. Some employees had close relationships with members of the media, leading to leaks and fueling image problems for the bureau.
Wray also said they would have training to ensure that top executives will have to undergo training to learn how to avoid mistakes the IG found.
“Because change starts at the top, it starts with me, we’re going to require all of our senior executives from all around the world to convene for in-depth training specifically focused on learning the lessons that we should learn from this report then we’re going to train every single FBI employee, new hires and veterans alike, on what went wrong so these mistakes will never be repeated,” he said.
He listed a series of training goals to ensure compliance from employees:
Drilling home the importance of objectivity, of avoiding even the appearance of personal conflicts or political bias in our work; ensuring that recusals are handled correctly and effectively and communicated to all the right people; making all of our employees fully aware of our new policy on media contacts, which I issued last November, and making painfully clear we won’t tolerate non-compliance; ensuring that we follow all DOJ policies on public statements about uncharged conduct or ongoing investigations; and ensuring that our employees adhere strictly to all policies and procedures about the use of FBI systems, networks, and devices.
He also addressed how the FBI’s handling of politically sensitive investigations led to many of the problems in the report, so he said Associate Deputy Director Paul Abbate would be reviewing procedures for such investigations.
“I’ve also directed our associate deputy director to lead a review of how the FBI handles sensitive investigations and to make recommendations on how those should be staffed, structured, and supervised in the future so that every sensitive investigation is conducted to the FBI’s highest standards,” he said.
Wray was appointed to lead the FBI after Trump fired James Comey from the position, who has since become a leading critic of the president. Comey responded to the report with an opinion piece in the New York Times defending his actions.