Senate Committee to hold hearing on FBI’s ‘dereliction of duty’ in Nassar case on Sept. 15

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the FBI’s “dereliction of duty” in its handling of the investigation into disgraced USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar on Sept. 15.

The committee announced the hearing date on Thursday. It was initially called for in July after the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a highly anticipated report which found that FBI officials failed to quickly address the accusations against Nassar, despite the potential for the alleged abuse to continue.

The committee on Thursday contended that the FBI’s actions “enabled the continued abuse of dozens of additional victims.”

The hearing is titled “Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation.”

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who both sit on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Thursday requesting that one of them testify before the committee to address the FBI’s handling of the Nassar case.

They said the FBI “consistently and repeatedly failed to live up to its stated values,” adding that they believe an “explanation is owed to the athletes so grievously harmed and to the American public.”

The OIG wrote in its July report that the FBI and local authorities were delayed for more than a year in beginning their probe into Nassar because of failures outlined in the report.

“Despite the extraordinarily serious nature of the allegations and the possibility that Nassar’s conduct could be continuing, senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required,” the watchdog wrote

The inspector general also found that when the FBI field office did respond to the accusations, it made “numerous and fundamental errors” and “violated multiple FBI policies.”

Nassar was charged with counts of federal pornography and sexual abuse in Michigan in 2016, and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to 10 molestation charges.

The FBI responded to the report in July, contending that the “actions and inactions” of particular FBI employees were “inexcusable and a discredit to this organization.”

The bureau also said it has taken affirmative steps to ensure and has confirmed that those responsible for the misconduct and breach of trust no longer work FBI matters,” and is “fully committed” to implementing the recommendations included in the report.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in July said the panel would hold a hearing to look into the “injustice” committed by the FBI.

“The FBI’s failure in this case led to more athletes being victimized.  This Committee has the responsibility of oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—and will hold a hearing to examine this injustice and to prevent future, similar tragedies,” Durbin said in a statement.

The FBI declined The Hill’s request for further comment.

—Updated at 5:57 p.m.

Tags Dianne Feinstein Dick Durbin Federal Bureau of Investigation Larry Nassar Merrick Garland Sexual harassment USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal
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