Top FBI official let romantic relationship ‘disrupt workplace,’ report finds

The claims follow reports that the bureau’s Indianapolis office mishandled sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar

A senior FBI official violated the bureau’s policy by failing to report a romantic relationship with a subordinate in a timely manner and by taking part in a personnel decision involving her paramour, the Justice Department’s inspector general found this week.

An executive summary of the report by Michael Horowitz made public Thursday did not name the official. However, The Washington Post, citing current and former law enforcement officials, identified her as Jill Tyson, the assistant director of the bureau’s Office of Congressional Affairs since February 2019.

In addition to the policy violation, Horowitz found that Tyson allowed her relationship to "negatively affect an appropriate and professional superior-subordinate relationship and to disrupt the workplace by interfering with the ability of other FBI employees to complete their work."

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FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The report also found that Tyson "participated in a hiring or organizational decision involving the subordinate," also in violation of FBI policy.

The summary does not suggest that Tyson harassed or mistreated her subordinate. The Washington Post reported that the person was transferred to another part of the bureau after Tyson reported the relationship.

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Tyson joined the FBI in 2018 after holding a number of positions in the Justice Department, including deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legislative Affairs, chief spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons and special assistant US attorney for Washington, DC prosecuting criminal matters.

FBI Director Christopher Wray is seen Sept. 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

FBI Director Christopher Wray is seen Sept. 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

In her current position, Tyson manages all FBI interactions with Congress, a job that has brought her in close contact with bureau Director Christopher Wray. The Washington Post reported that Wray "likes and trusts" Tyson, who helps prepare him for congressional testimony, among other duties.

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The report is another black mark against the FBI. Earlier this month, Horowitz found that the bureau’s Indianapolis office mishandled sexual abuse allegations against predatory USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, while top agents at the office violated ethics rules and made false statements when their investigation came under internal scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the agency’s investigation of an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came under scrutiny this week, with some of the men arrested in the scheme claiming entrapment by undercover FBI informants. In a separate incident, an FBI agent involved in the investigation of the alleged plot was arrested earlier this week and accused of assaulting his wife after the couple attended a swingers party.