Durbin Questions FBI Director Wray And Inspector General Horowitz On FBI's Mishandling Of Nassar Abuse Case

WASHINGTON – During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation,” U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain the FBI’s abdication of responsibility and failure to investigate the Nassar case.

“What strikes me here is there doesn’t ever seem to be a sense of urgency or immediacy in that Indianapolis Field Office,” Durbin said. “What am I missing here? This is like a child kidnapping case. This man is on the loose molesting children and it appears that [the case] is being lost in the paperwork of the agency.”

Wray answered by stating he shares Durbin’s bewilderment and outrage over the FBI’s failures and that it has been utterly jarring to him. Wray said what happened in the Nassar case is totally inconsistent with what FBI trains its people on and how hundreds of other agents approach these kinds of cases every day. Wray added that within the past week, the FBI fired a Supervisory Special Agent who attempted to cover up his mishandling of the Nassar allegations by doctoring paperwork and lying to the Inspector General.

Durbin then asked Wray whether the FBI has learned to improve how it questions individuals – such as the USA Gymnastics athletes – for cases involving sexual abuse.

“For three hours [McKayla Maroney] is sitting on her bedroom floor, going through an interview, in which you could tell was by a person, whoever it was, was totally insensitive to this young woman’s tragic experience. What has the FBI learned from that?” Durbin asked.

Wray answered by stating there are Child Adolescent Forensic Interviewers (CAFI) at the FBI who are specially trained in the unique sensitivities it takes to interview survivors of these kinds of crimes. He said in the aftermath of the FBI’s failure, he has made it clear in policy that all interviews in cases such as the Nassar case should be conducted by CAFIs and not over telephone.

Durbin then asked Inspector General (IG) Horowitz whether any of the FBI agents involved in the case deliberately misrepresented facts during his investigation. 

Horowitz said that the agent who wrote a report regarding McKayla Maroney’s interview made false statements to the IG’s office. Horowitz also said the Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis Field Office made false statements about the steps he took in 2015 when the allegations came in, but also about his job seeking efforts with the Olympic Committee.

“Do these misrepresentations reach the level of a criminal violation?” Durbin asked Horowitz.

Horowitz said that they violated criminal law sufficiently to support a referral to prosecutors at DOJ. DOJ declined to prosecute the two agents or to send a representative to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee today to explain its reasoning. 

“It is outrageous…I have great faith in this Attorney General and his Department of Justice. But, when we asked them to bring someone in to explain this today, they refused…I understand its procedure in the Department not to go into the basis for deciding not to pursue prosecution. But this is, on its face, obvious that these agents were not only derelict in their duty when it came to these young women, but did their best to cover up what had happened and that is inexcusable from where I’m standing,” Durbin said.

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.