FBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report

FBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report
© Greg Nash

Confidence in the FBI's leadership has plummeted among the agency's rank-and-file agents in the year following former Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller Watergate's John Dean: White House counsel is 'doing right' by cooperating with Mueller MORE's firing, according to an internal survey of employees. 

Overall, morale at the FBI remains high, data obtained by the blog Lawfare through a Freedom of Information Act request show. Responses generally reflected that agents remained proud to work at the bureau and that they look forward to going to their jobs. 

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While morale scores remained relatively unchanged from past years, the survey reflects dwindling confidence in the agency's senior leadership at a time when the FBI faces repeated attacks on its credibility from President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE and his allies.

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, citing a sharp drop in confidence in the FBI chief among the bureau's agents. The survey suggests, however, that agents' attitudes do not necessary jibe with the president's claims.

After Comey's firing, Trump tapped Christopher Wray to replace him. And while Wray has periodically defended the FBI in congressional testimonies, he has taken a far less vocal approach to his role than his predecessor. 

The so-called climate survey is conducted annually and asks employees dozens of questions about their experience at the FBI. Results are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with higher numbers representing better results. According to Lawfare, the FBI sees scores of 3.81 or higher as markers of success. 

Wray's vision and leadership scored a 3.58 among FBI field agents, according to a separate analysis by The New York Times. According to Lawfare, scores between 3 and 3.8 represent "positive feedback" with room for improvement.

The latest FBI climate survey was conducted in March and April, according to Lawfare, capping off a tumultuous year at the FBI that saw not only the firing of Comey, but the ouster of the FBI's Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report White House drafts docs for Trump to revoke more security clearances: report Strzok firing a needed first step to restoring credibility and fairness to the FBI MORE

Trump has also gone after Peter Strzok, the former chief of the FBI's counterespionage section, and Lisa Page, a former lawyer for the bureau, who exchanged text messages critical of the real estate mogul during the 2016 presidential election.