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New DOJ watchdog report details FBI officials' misconduct with foreign prostitutes

The FBI's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Yuri Gripas
/
AFP via Getty Images
The FBI's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Six FBI officials working on assignment overseas solicited or had sex with prostitutes, including at a karaoke bar, a massage parlor, and a gentlemen's club, and then were not forthcoming when questioned by investigators, according to a document released by the Justice Department's internal watchdog.

The DOJ's Inspector General's Office made public in 2021 a barebones, one-page summary of its findings that FBI officials had accepted "commercial sex" while on duty abroad, but it did not disclose any details on the misconduct itself.

Now, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Inspector General's office has released what's known as a Report of Investigation that dates to Oct. 20, 2021. The 37-page document is heavily redacted, including all references to the identities of the FBI officials as well as the country or countries where the misconduct took place, but it provides a wealth of new details about the six officials' actions.

It paints a picture of FBI employees who repeatedly engaged in activities that violated Justice Department and FBI policies, and exposed them to possible extortion and blackmail.

The report found that one of the FBI officials, for example, paid for sex during an outing with foreign law enforcement partners at a karaoke bar, as well as at a strip club and a massage parlor while on official work abroad.

Another official was found to have paid for sex at a "gentleman's club," and also to have had sex with a prostitute provided by a host nation's law enforcement officials, according to the report.

The report says that one of the officials told investigators that on one occasion, foreign law enforcement officers offered to send prostitutes to the FBI officials' hotel rooms. Later that same evening, "a prostitute showed up" at the villa he was staying in. The official admitted to having sex with the woman, as well as another prostitute who turned up.

The name of the country is redacted.

In that same section of the report, an FBI official whose name is blacked out told investigators that he has paid for commercial sex but there have been "zero occasions" where a foreign country has "tried to leverage him as a result of their providing him with a prostitute, adding this is a 'cultural thing unfortunately.'"

A third FBI official was found to have negotiated sex for FBI colleagues in addition to sleeping with a prostitute himself.

Two more agents were found to have engaged in sex with prostitutes, while one other was found to have only solicited one.

As part of the IG's investigation, the officials were given polygraph tests. The report says investigators concluded that five of the FBI officials lacked candor or lied about their dealings with prostitutes.

The officials' actions violated multiple FBI policies, including failing to report contacts with foreign nationals, and failing to report their own misconduct as well as their colleagues' misconduct.

The report says three of the officials implicated in the report resigned, two retired and one was removed from his position.

The FBI is not the first U.S. law enforcement agency to have to discipline its personnel for engaging with foreign prostitutes.

The Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration was hit by scandal in 2012 after it emerged that their agents had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms after a night of hard drinking in Cartagena, Colombia.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.