FBI Used Cash Bonuses To Encourage Agents To Wiretap More Americans, Whistleblower Says
The FBI’s bonus structure encourages agents to arbitrarily use law enforcement tools including wiretaps, according to whistleblower testimony from former and current FBI employees released by the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
The committee released an interim staff report Thursday morning raising concerns about “abuses and misconduct in the FBI,” featuring testimony from special agents, an intelligence analyst and a staff operations specialist. Special agents in charge (SACs) are able to get year-end bonuses by meeting certain metrics, some of which are determined by the SACs themselves, which encourage the deployment of law enforcement resources including wiretapping, according to the report.
“I think a large driving factor in the FBI is to meet those metrics. And I think that raises grave constitutional concerns to be saying to law enforcement officers, you have to go and do X, Y, and Z so the boss gets his bonus,” FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle told the subcommittee. “Nobody comes out and says it that way … but that certainly is what is implied.”
“There’s a wide range of [metrics]. . . . [O]ne that I do have personal experience with is . . . Title III wiretaps, or FISAs, or other sophisticated—sophisticated techniques,” he said. “[A]t the beginning of the year the SAC’s metric might be, get three Title IIIs. And it’s like, how do you know you’re going to get three? And what if you don’t get three? Well, then you’re not marked gold in that category. So I think that that leads to a pervasive culture of not letting the case dictate where the investigation goes, but it’s the manager or the agent pushing for a certain avenue of where a case goes.”
The report relied on testimony from O’Boyle, Special Agent Garret Stephen Friend, Supervisory Intelligence Analyst George Hill and Staff Operations Specialist Marcus Allen, along with several current and former FBI employees who spoke with the subcommittee anonymously.