Jim Mustian, New York-based federal law enforcement reporter, used interviews, public records requests and court papers to exclusively confirm at least six sexual misconduct allegations against senior FBI officials over the past five years, and that each avoided discipline. Several were quietly transferred or retired with full benefits, even when probes substantiated the claims.
Starting with a single tip from a longtime FBI source, Mustian chipped away for months to reveal the previously undisclosed names of most of those senior officials as well as the details of the allegations against them. He used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain inspector general reports, one of which confirmed the identity of an assistant FBI director who had been credibly accused of of drunkenly groping a female subordinate in a stairwell. The assistant director left the bureau without discipline.
Mustian also found a civil rights lawyer in Washington who was preparing two lawsuits by women accusing senior FBI officials of sexual assault. Mustian negotiated both for an exclusive interview with one of the plaintiffs, and to be the first reporter to write about those cases, including one woman’s claim of being blackmailed into sexual encounters for years.
Mustian’s story, with contributions from Washington reporter Eric Tucker and Denver photographer David Zalubowski, received heavy play and elicited a strong reaction from readers, particularly those inside the FBI. Several women emailed Mustian to say his count was just the beginning; that they too were sexually harassed and assaulted by senior agents while at the FBI. A California congresswoman says she is considering hearings into the FBI’s handling of sexual misconduct.