FBI assistant director violated policy by failing to disclose relationship with junior staffer

An FBI assistant director violated the bureau’s policies by failing to disclose her relationship with a junior staff member and letting it ‘disrupt the workplace’, according to a damning report issued by the Justice Department watchdog. 

Jill C. Tyson, who has been the assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs since February 2019 and is said to have a close working relationship with FBI Director Chris Wray, was also involved in a hiring decision for the subordinate. 

Tyson was only identified as an assistant director in the report but multiple sources named her as the report’s subject to the Washington Post.

The identity of the junior staffer has not been revealed but sources said they were transferred to a different role in the FBI after their relationship came to light.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released the report Thursday – one week after the FBI also came under fire over its handling of sexual abuse allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.

An FBI assistant director Jill C. Tyson (pictured) violated the bureau's policies by failing to disclose her relationship with a junior staff member and letting it 'disrupt the workplace', according to a damning report issued by the Justice Department watchdog

An FBI assistant director Jill C. Tyson (pictured) violated the bureau's policies by failing to disclose her relationship with a junior staff member and letting it 'disrupt the workplace', according to a damning report issued by the Justice Department watchdog

An FBI assistant director Jill C. Tyson (pictured) violated the bureau’s policies by failing to disclose her relationship with a junior staff member and letting it ‘disrupt the workplace’, according to a damning report issued by the Justice Department watchdog

The investigation into Tyson began over a year ago when the DOJ inspector general received information from the FBI’s inspection division alleging the senior official was having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. 

The probe found that she was ‘engaged in a romantic relationship with a subordinate and failed to timely report the relationship.’

Horowitz said this was a violation of policy and amounted to misconduct.   

Tyson also violated policies by allowing the relationship to impact the work environment, he found. 

She ‘allowed the 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,’ the report said.

Tyson also ‘participated in a hiring or organizational decision involving the subordinate, all in violation of FBI policy.’

There is no suggestion Tyson harassed or mistreated the junior staffer and it is unclear if the pair are still in a relationship. 

The findings have been handed to the FBI and DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility for appropriate action which will now decide what action – if any – to take.  

Tyson has been the assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs since February 2019 and is said to have a close working relationship with FBI Director Chris Wray (pictured during a Senate hearing in March about the Capitol riot)

Tyson has been the assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs since February 2019 and is said to have a close working relationship with FBI Director Chris Wray (pictured during a Senate hearing in March about the Capitol riot)

Tyson has been the assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs since February 2019 and is said to have a close working relationship with FBI Director Chris Wray (pictured during a Senate hearing in March about the Capitol riot)

Reached for comment by the Post, Tyson referred questions to the FBI press office, which declined to comment. 

A spokeswoman for the inspector general also declined to comment to the outlet. 

Tyson is one of the few women in a senior leadership role at the FBI after she was appointed as assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs by Wray – around one year after she began serving as the acting assistant director.

Sources said Wray and Tyson have a good relationship and that he likes and trusts Tyson. 

In her role, she manages all FBI interactions with Congress and advises FBI executive leadership on congressional matters, including overseeing officials’ responses to congressional oversight and investigations. 

This means she has advised Wray in recent months as he testified before Congress to answer questions about the FBI’s handling of intelligence in the lead-up to the Capitol riot. ‘  

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (above) said Tyson also violated policies by allowing the relationship to impact the work environment

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (above) said Tyson also violated policies by allowing the relationship to impact the work environment

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz (above) said Tyson also violated policies by allowing the relationship to impact the work environment

Before joining the FBI, Tyson held several roles at the DOJ including as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legislative Affairs, as the chief public information officer at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and as a special assistant US attorney prosecuting criminal matters in Washington DC.

She also previously worked on Capitol Hill for a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Law enforcement sources told the Post the report on Tyson come as a blow to the FBI at a time when it is facing increased scrutiny on several issues. 

Just last week, the inspector general released a scathing report about the bureau’s 14-month-long failure to adequately investigate Nassar.

The watchdog found that two FBI field offices in Indianapolis and Detroit failed to take initial allegations seriously when they were first raised.

Just last week, the inspector general released a scathing report about the bureau's 14-month-long failure to adequately Larry Nassar. The former team USA Gymnastics doctor is seen at his 2018 sentencing

Just last week, the inspector general released a scathing report about the bureau's 14-month-long failure to adequately Larry Nassar. The former team USA Gymnastics doctor is seen at his 2018 sentencing

Just last week, the inspector general released a scathing report about the bureau’s 14-month-long failure to adequately Larry Nassar. The former team USA Gymnastics doctor is seen at his 2018 sentencing

Victims of Nassar are seen at the sentencing hearing. The watchdog found that two FBI field offices in Indianapolis and Detroit failed to take initial allegations seriously when they were first raised

Victims of Nassar are seen at the sentencing hearing. The watchdog found that two FBI field offices in Indianapolis and Detroit failed to take initial allegations seriously when they were first raised

Victims of Nassar are seen at the sentencing hearing. The watchdog found that two FBI field offices in Indianapolis and Detroit failed to take initial allegations seriously when they were first raised

William Jay Abbott, the former Special Agent in Charge of the bureau’s Indianapolis field office, was alerted to Nassar’s sickening abuse of young athletes in summer 2015. 

The report found Abbott disregarded the allegations and failed to warn authorities at Michigan State University. 

It’s estimated that Nassar was able to abuse a further 70 to 120 victims in the 13 months after the complaint was lodged, before a separate complaint was made to the university’s police department in August 2016.  

Nassar was charged with federal child porn offenses and sexual abuse charges in Michigan.

He is now serving decades in prison after hundreds of girls and women said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for Michigan State and Indiana-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.  

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