[Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 131 (Tuesday, October 8, 2002)]
[Pages S10055-S10057]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                               FBI REFORM

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I have addressed the Senate many times 
on my oversight efforts of the FBI. As my colleagues know, I have been 
trying to improve the FBI for years. Sometimes that means investigating 
problems that some people would otherwise rather cover up. But there is 
nothing like sunshine that fixes what is wrong, particularly in 
  I do this not because I am against the FBI but because I think the 
FBI is

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meant to work well and work right so our country is protected. In fact, 
since September 11, the FBI is on the front line on the domestic war on 
terrorism. Obviously, the FBI must change to meet that demand. If it 
does not, we lose the domestic war on terrorism when the people on the 
front line are not ready to do what needs to be done.
  In February, I was addressing the Senate about the FBI reform bill 
introduced by Chairman Leahy and myself to help bring more security and 
accountability to the FBI. I want to highlight that bill.
  The bill strengthens the FBI uniformed police, creates an effective 
polygraph program to detect moles, and establishes an attractive career 
path for internal security officers. This is important. It has not been 
that long since probably the worst spy case in FBI history, Robert 
Hanssen, was uncovered.
  For accountability, it ends the double standard in discipline that 
allows top bureaucrats to escape punishment. This bill gives real 
whistleblower protections to FBI agents so others, such as Coleen 
Rowley of Minneapolis, can come forward with the truth, as Director 
Mueller complimented her as a whistleblower for bringing valuable 
information to the surface.
  I happen to think the Attorney General and the FBI Director are 
working hard to reform and improve the FBI, but the Leahy-Grassley bill 
will help ensure that reform really happens. In fact, the Justice 
Department has even asked us for several provisions that we agreed to 
put in the bill.
  The Judiciary Committee approved this bill unanimously back in April. 
Since then, this bill has been in limbo. There is now a hold on this 
bill--one of these secret holds. I do not do secret holds. When I put a 
hold on a nominee or a bill, I always put a statement in the 
Congressional Record so Senators know it is Chuck Grassley and why 
Chuck Grassley is putting a hold on a bill. It seems we need to put a 
stop to the backroom squabbles that have brought this hold about and 
put national security first and help reform the FBI.
  A few parts of the bill were luckily included in the Department of 
Justice reauthorization bill last week. I appreciate that the inspector 
general's authority to investigate the FBI is now codified, and I am 
sure the FBI appreciated the help we gave them by including provisions 
for the uniformed police force.
  That is all nice, but the heart of the FBI reform bill was left out, 
and that heart is more whistleblower protections and ending the double 
standard in discipline.
  I have outlined why this bill is important. Now I think an example I 
have will help people understand why we need to enact this bill very 
  Quite recently, my staff was shown a Tiffany crystal paperweight 
globe. This globe sells for $100 to $200 but has been valued by experts 
at more than $5,000. This globe was wrapped in an evidence bag.

  What does this have to do with the FBI?
  Well, the answer is this globe was stolen from Ground Zero New York 
City, as you know. I don't think I have to explain how disgraceful that 
act is.
  It is not only illegally taking evidence from a crime scene, but it 
is stealing from hallowed ground where thousands of people died on 
September 11. There have already been numbers of prosecutions for 
removing items from Ground Zero. There is not question then that this 
act was wrong.
  But in this case, I am told that the globe was taken by one or more 
FBI agents. That is right. I am sorry to say it was taken by FBI 
  Agents from the Minneapolis Division apparently took it back with 
them after being on official business at Ground Zero. When they 
returned, I guess they gave it to a secretary in the office, as if it 
was some memento from the trip.
  This is how I know that: because an FBI agent decided to blow the 
whistle after her superiors would not do anything about the theft.
  The FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Administration 
Inspectors General have been investigating a Minnesota company for 
stealing items from Ground Zero and other matters.
  Coincidentally, Agent Jane Turner of the Minneapolis office 
discovered that other FBI agents did the very same thing.
  In fact, it was one or more agents from the Evidence Response Team 
that took the globe. The ERT is supposed to secure and collect evidence 
at a crime scene. Their job is to preserve the integrity of a crime 
scene, not take from it and disrupt it.
  When Agent Turner told her supervisor about this, he said he already 
knew about it. It evidently was not that big a deal because he did not 
do anything about it.
  Well, I do think it is a big deal. I think it is outrageous. And I 
suspect that the loved ones of the 9/11 victims would think this is an 
  In New York, the fact is people are working overtime to try and 
return items like this to the families that once owned them. Maybe some 
people who work at these scenes think that taking something is OK, like 
it is a trophy for their hard work, but I do not think so. Most 
important, it is against the law.
  This makes me wonder what else these agents stole, if they were 
generous enough to give a pricey crystal globe to a secretary.
  This is the kind of behavior from a law enforcement agency that could 
backfire and hurt the case against criminals.
  For example, if a company were to do the same thing, steal something 
from Ground Zero, they might argue in court that the FBI did it, so it 
must be OK and why can't they get away with it? So taking this from 
Ground Zero was not only wrong, but it could really hurt prosecutions.
  Because Agent Turner could not get an investigation into this matter 
by the FBI, she had to bring this to my staff and Chairman Leahy's 
staff. Because of the severity of the situation, it was decided that 
she report the situation to the Justice Department Inspector General 
for a criminal investigation.
  Fortunately, Agent Turner was able to recover the globe from the 
Minnesota office and bring it to the Inspectors General in a sealed 
evidence bag. The bag was sealed and signed both by Agent Turner and an 
agent from the FEMA Inspector General office, which is also working the 
  I have also learned of other problems with the FBI Minneapolis 
office. Apparently, a former FBI agent from that office is using his 
influence and access to undermine an FBI investigation. This former 
agent is now a consultant to the subject of an investigation. So he is 
working against the FBI on a case, but at the same time trying to 
influence and get information from the FBI with such perks as sideline-
access Vikings tickets.
  This appears to be a violation of Government ethics rules, a big 
security problem and conflict of interest. I hope the FBI looks into 
this problem as well.
  What does this have to do with the FBI reform bill? Agent Turner's 
disclosures to the committee are not protected. The FBI knows they 
could retaliate.
  It is the same thing that happened with Agent Coleen Rowley from 
Minneapolis. She was involved with the Moussaoui case, and she was not 
retaliated against because of media attention and Director Mueller's 
  But that is not going to happen every time. FBI agents cannot always 
take the risk that comes with blowing the whistle. There has to be 
protection in the law, and that's what the FBI reform bill does. In the 
Turner case, Chairman Leahy and I wrote to the Director asking for his 
assurance that Agent Turner not get hit with retaliation, but we have 
not gotten an answer back yet.
  This bill also will put an end to the double standard in discipline, 
where senior officials get away with misconduct and coverups, while 
rank-and-file agents get punished for the same thing. This hurts the 
morale of the FBI.
  And how do we know about these discipline problems? We know about 
them because of whistleblowers, patriotic American citizens wanting the 
law to be abided by.
  Agents John Roberts, Frank Perry, Patrick Kiernan, and former agent 
John Werner all testified about this discipline scandal last summer. 
This bill is only the first step to fix it, but the bill has not gone 
anywhere. These

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agents stuck their necks out to explain what is wrong with the FBI to 
Congress and the public. So far the Senate has ignored them, and their 
careers continue to be at risk.
  I know all this might be embarrassing for the FBI, but stealing is 
wrong, especially from Ground Zero, and there has to be consequences. 
Heads have to roll. I think the FBI agents in the field around the 
country do a great job. I have found that the big FBI mistakes over the 
years usually come from headquarters, not from the grassroots.
  In this case, it looks as if there are a few bad apples who did 
something wrong. And no one wanted to deal with it, so Agent Turner was 
obligated to blow the whistle. It was her sworn duty as a Federal law 
enforcement officer.
  If we do not have the FBI reform bill, we will not have 
whistleblowers like Jane Turner and Coleen Rowley who expose these 
hidden problems that need to be fixed.
  Without the bill, agents in the field will still think senior 
bureaucrats are held to a different standard, so morale suffers.
  Without the bill, FBI internal security will not be the best it can 
be. That means the FBI will be more vulnerable and less effective, and 
that hurts national security.
  This is not about politics. It is about improving the FBI and 
national security, and about making sure truth, fairness and justice 
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so