A year-in-review email recently circulated to employees at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that leaked online this week (PDF) reveals a series of disciplinary actions taken against agents during 2012.
While some of the agents’ transgressions were entertaining for how out-of-line they got, it’s also particularly interesting to highlight what the bureau does and does not consider a fireable offense.
While things like committing check fraud, spying on a supervisor and purchasing child pornography absolutely did trigger terminations in 2012, here are 10 other things the FBI apparently will not fire you for.
10) Leaving work early and lying about it
One employee was suspended for three days after it was discovered that they falsified time and attendance records in order to get out of work early — a repeat offense. But, because this particular employee had “no prior disciplinary history,” the bureau kept ‘em on.
9) Using your position to advocate for someone else’s suspect
One agent was formally censured after sending a letter to a judge on behalf of a friend’s father, who’d been accused of health care fraud. That letter, of course, explained that the author is an FBI agent, giving weight to the call for leniency. The bureau investigated and found it had no impact on the judge, and since the agent had a relatively clean record a light punishment was in order.
8) Accessing confidential files for your own jollies
One employee got caught searching the FBI’s database for dirt on co-workers and friends, landing that person at home for five days. Another FBI agent was suspended for just one day after peeking in an ex-boyfriend’s sister’s human resources file, despite specific instructions not to.
7) Leaving guns and computers lying around
A five day suspension was dealt to an FBI agent who left a shotgun and laptop in a bureau vehicle parked out in public overnight. Of course, all said items were stolen by the next morning, and it wasn’t the first time this particular agent had lost or misplaced government property. The punishment reportedly would have been more severe except there was no valuable data on the stolen laptop.
6) Letting money and drugs go missing
Another FBI employee was suspended for three days after superiors learned that the agent failed to count a stash of drug money being transported to evidence, resulting in “a subsequent discrepancy” (i.e. some of it went missing). “Employee also failed to properly secure drug evidence in the safe,” the memo adds, leaving it in a common area where it could be easily accessed. Another agent was suspended for three days after failing to weigh seized drugs before allegedly destroying them, despite being repeatedly instructed to do so.
5) Drunkenly displaying weapons in public
A week-long suspension was handed down to an agent who was caught out in public, drunk and armed. “For obvious safety reasons, Bureau policy prohibits employees from carrying firearms while impaired,” the memo notes.
4) Dodging your taxes
One FBI agent skipped paying taxes in 2008 and 2010 during a time of financial strain, so the bureau took it easy on him with a 10-day suspension — even though the same agency (in conjunction with the IRS) investigates tax fraud, which can result in lengthy prison sentences. The difference here: “Employee retained a tax professional to assist with filing delinquent returns and arranging payment plan to fully pay outstanding tax obligations,” the memo explained.
3) Stalking and sexting
One FBI employee “e-mailed [a] nude photograph of herself to [her] ex-boyfriend’s wife,” the memo explains. Naturally, said ex-boyfriend and wife called the cops, but the FBI agent still didn’t stop trying to communicate with her ex. The bureau got involved, the agent ultimately sought counseling and her superiors handed down a 10-day suspension. Another note mentions an FBI employee who received a 10-day suspension after sending nude photos to “several other employees,” which “created office gossip and negatively impacted office operations.” A third entry reveals that an employee who used an FBI Blackberry to repeatedly send “sexually explicit messages” during work hours was suspended for five days.
2) Stealing a vehicle
One crazed FBI agent actually stole a motorcycle from a bureau lot “for a purely personal purpose while off-duty,” the memo explains. Said agent subsequently wrecked that motorcycle while out for a joyride, resulting in a 35-day suspension.
1) Paying for sex
Two weeks is all the work one randy FBI agent missed after getting busted for paying a massage therapist for a sexual favor. “Employee had exemplary work record, no prior administrative actions, and expressed remorse,” the memo notes. Despite the conduct being illegal, dude kept his job.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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