It is supposed to be the nation’s elite police force, working to the highest standards of all.
But hundreds of FBI agents each year are in fact having to be disciplined for serious breaches of misconduct, secret files have revealed.
In the past three years more than 1,000 FBI employees have been found guilty of inappropriate behaviour, including one agent who had a sexual relationship with a source.
Inappropriate: FBI agents bow their heads during a moment of silence in Tucson on January 10 - but FBI files show many should be hanging their heads in shame
Another agent used FBI databases to get personal details about celebrities he thought were ‘hot’.
And one male member of staff shared confidential information with his news reporter girlfriend, and then threatened to release a sex tape the two had made unless she kept it quiet.
The litany of misconduct was detailed in confidential summaries of disciplinary rulings obtained by CNN.
The disclosure threatens to undermine the FBI’s reputation for, as its own motto points out, ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’.
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The bureau could also face harsh criticism over its refusal to fire any of those caught out, even though the offences were of a grave nature.
Among the toughest punishments was for the agent who had the seven-month sexual relationship with a source. He was suspended for 40 days.
Another employee drunkenly ‘exploited his FBI employment’ at a strip club by falsely claiming he was conducting an official investigation. He was suspended for 30 days.
In another case a supervisor who viewed pornography in his office during work hours, while 'sexually satisfying himself' (so the file states) got a 35-day suspension.
And an employee in a ‘leadership position’ misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours was ordered to stay away from work for 23 days.
President of the FBI Agents’ Association Konrad Motyka said such behaviour was ‘never acceptable’.
He added: ‘Demonstrable incorrect conduct or criminal conduct is not acceptable and never should be’.