Although “there [are] many things that can be forgiven” within the nation’s pre-eminent law enforcement agency, a “lack of candor” and “not telling the truth” are “unforgivable,” former FBI national spokesperson John Iannarelli said Thursday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“The reality is that in the FBI there [are] many things that can be forgiven, yet punished. But lack of candor — not telling the truth — is unforgivable,” said Iannarelli (shown above left). “And there are no exceptions.”
Iannarelli was reacting to reports that the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) recommended to Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week that he fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe before the latter’s pension begins Sunday.
The Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) concluded that McCabe, who oversaw the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, reportedly misled investigators during their investigation into his conduct.
McCabe announced his resignation early in January reportedly to avoid a demotion. Should Sessions fire McCabe and withhold his pension, Iannarelli said it would send “a good message when there [have] been leadership problems at times in the FBI that no one can escape their responsibilities to their job.”
Attorney Solomon Wisenberg, the deputy independent counsel for Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater-Lewinsky investigation surrounding former President Bill Clinton, found the timing of the FBI’s recommendation “bizarre” and “a little unsettling.”
“And even a lot of my friends who are in the bureau … are a little upset with the timing of it — to come in two or three days for the head of OPR with the bureau, to come in two or three days before his retirement and put AG Sessions in that situation is a little bit weird,” said Wisenberg (shown above right), who also appeared on “The Ingraham Angle.”
Wisenberg said an FBI official couldn’t lose his pension through “general misconduct,” noting that “the only way” an FBI official could really lose it would be “through basically not telling the truth — being dishonest.”
“And that’s what the supposed allegation is,” Wisenberg said. “But there’s just something a little bit troubling about the timing.”
Iannarelli insisted the strongest way in which the DOJ could send a clear warning would be for Sessions to fire McCabe before his impending retirement on Sunday.
“The reality is if they did something after he retires, there’s no repercussions,” Iannarelli said. “Your pension is not a guaranteed gift. When you’re an FBI agent, it’s about living up to appropriate protocols and policies, honesty and integrity.”
“Would you rather that he be allowed to retire, even though something may have been done wrong and it was determined by OPR, yet he can benefit?” Iannarelli continued. “Agents are held accountable for their behaviors, and I think this speaks to many things that happened when Mr. McCabe was working for [former FBI] Director [James] Comey.”
Wisenberg noted that much hinges upon what is actually in the report Sessions is considering.
“If it’s incredibly detailed and incredibly damning and Sessions has a chance to look at it and make that decision in two or three days, that’s one thing,” Wisenberg said. “But that’s a very big deal to come in and present this to the attorney general with only two or three days for him to look at it.”