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Tag: diversity

FBI Celebrates First Black Agent Hired 100 Years Ago

FBI Director Christopher Wray and John Glover. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Most people have never heard of James Wormley Jones.

The son of former slaves, Jones was 35 years old when he became the first black FBI agent 100 years ago.

There are no known pictures of him. He’s just a footnote in American history.

“There should be books written about James Wormley Jones,” said John Glover, who became the FBI’s highest-ranking black special agent before retiring in 1989.

Jones served in the Army’s regiment, Buffalo Soldiers, during World War I and was a police officer in Washington D.C.

In 1919, Jones was appointed to what was then the Bureau of Investigations. That same year, more than 100 black people were lynched during the Red Summer, Glover said at an event celebrating 100 years of African American special agents.

During the event, dubbed “Our History, Our Service,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said “diversity remains one of our top priorities here at the FBI.”

Today, 11.3% of the FBI’s employees are black.

“It’s true that we’ve made progress over the past century in the area of diversity, both as a nation and as an organization,” Wray said. “But we’ve got to constantly ask ourselves, ‘Where do we want to be another century from now?’”

FBI’s Failure to Diversify Its Ranks Is a ‘Huge Occupational Risk’

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s failure to diversify its ranks is a “huge operational risk” that diminishes the bureau’s ability to protect and serve the public, a senior official told the Pacific Standard

Despite the growing rate of diversity in private and public sector workplaces, the FBI’s agents remain predominately white men.

About 1o months before Trump fired him, James Comey called the lack of diversity “a crisis.”

“Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,” Comey said in a speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I’ve got nothing against white people—especially tall, awkward, male white people—but that is a crisis for reasons that you get, and that I’ve worked very hard to make sure the entire FBI understands.”

When it comes to diversity, the FBI has a bitter past. 

Nearly three decades ago, a group of black agents filed suit against the FBI, claiming systemic discrimination that affected performance reviews, promotions and overall workplace culture. Only about 5% of the bureau’s agents were black at the time.

A federal judge sided with the black agents, saying there was “statistical evidence” of racial bias at the FBI, resulting in a settlement in 1993.

“Still, all these years later, the most recent statistics posted publicly by the FBI indicate the bureau remains far less diverse than the population it is drawn from,” the Pacific Standard wrote. “Black agents in 2014 made up a lower percentage of special agents than they did when the discrimination lawsuit was filed, dropping from around 5.3 percent in 1995 to 4.4 percent, according to the FBI website. About 13 percent of the United States population is black. And while nearly 18 percent of the U.S. population is Latino, Latinos made up just 6.5 percent of special agents.”

FBI Director Comey Says Lack of Diversity Among Agents Is ‘a Crisis’

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said the bureau has “a crisis” because of the decline of minorities working for the bureau.

Speaking at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Comey said the FBI’s agents are 83% white, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We have a crisis in the FBI and it is this: Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,’’ he said without saying why that occurred.

Comey’s comments come after high-profile shootings of black men by white police officers. Comey said he worries that the controversies around race and policing may prevent younger people from joining the FBI.

FBI Director Pledges to Reverse Trend of Fewer Minority Agents

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of minority FBI agents continues to decline, but bureau Director James Comey pledged to reverse that trend.

Politico reports that 581 African American agents worked at the FBI as of March, down from 606 at the end of 2014.

The number of Latino agents also declined to 882 from 916 in 2014.

“Too early to say whether we’re going to be able to change the inflection of the line. Lots going on in the FBI to try and change that. I’ll probably have a better sense at the end of this year, as to whether we’re seeing a change,” Comey said. “Anecdotally I feel, change in that area, change in the people who are expressing interest. … I don’t know whether that’s our reference or the show Quantico? More to come at the end of the year. I think both are possible.”

First Hispanic to Run FBI’s Largest Field Office Keeps Low Profile

Diego Rodriguez

Diego Rodriguez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Before Diego Rodriguez became the first Hispanic person to run the FBI’s largest field office, he turned down an offer in the late 1980s to join the bureau.

“I’m really happy teaching. Thanks, but no thanks,” he recalled saying, the Associated Press reports.

But Rodriguez eventually decided to join the FBI and began working drug cases.

More than 25 years later, Rodriguez oversees about 2,000 agents working on cases raining from terrorism and insider trading to cyber fraud and public corruption. He is the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office.

Rodriguez has kept a low profile.

“I genuinely care about their cases, but I’m not a micro-manager,” Rodriguez, 50, said in a recent interview in his lower Manhattan office. “They’ve got their own chain of command. The head of the office doesn’t need to be meddling in certain things.”

The Associated Press wrote:

Rodriguez’s modesty is rooted in humble beginnings: He was born in Colombia and moved to New York City with his family as an infant. He spent his childhood in working-class Queens, where his father turned him in to a lifelong soccer fan by taking him to see the legendary Pele play for the New York Cosmos.

After graduating from St. John’s University and teaching middle school Spanish, he made his career switch and landed his first FBI assignment in a taskforce investigating money laundering by South American and Mexican drug rings. Over the years, he held various investigative and supervisory positions in Puerto Rico, Miami and Washington before being appointed in 2010 to head the New York office’s criminal division.

At the time, the division was immersed in the groundbreaking investigation of Wall Streetmagnate Raj Rajaratnam and his multi-billion-dollar Galleon hedge fund. It marked the first time the bureau had turned to a method familiar in mob and drug cases — wiretaps — to capture conversations about insider trading. The wires sunk the talkative and boastful Rajaratnam, who’s serving an 11-year prison term.

Marshall Project: Why Is the FBI So White? Bureau Could Use Diversity

By Simone Weichselbaum
The Marshall Project

Richard Garcia, the FBI assistant director in charge of the bureau’s Los Angeles office, was unfazed to learn in 2005 that the agency had agreed to cooperate in the making of a Hollywood film based on his work managing a rogue agent who was suspected of being a Russian spy. Garcia was two months from retiring, and says he “had already seen it all.”

Four years earlier, the bureau’s counterterrorism division had assigned Garcia to keep a close eye on an agent named Robert Hanssen, an operation that ended with Hanssen serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison on espionage charges.

But Garcia was nonplussed when “Breach” was released in theaters in 2007. The Mexican-American law enforcement veteran — proudly the highest-ranking Latino in the FBI when he retired — was portrayed by the unmistakably Anglo actor, Gary Cole.

“They made me white,” Garcia says.

Hollywood may have gotten Richard Garcia wrong, but it got the FBI right. The bureau has historically been the least diverse of the majorfederal law-enforcement agencies, and, according to a recent breakdown of the FBI’s 13,455 special agents, decades of lawsuits and promises have not moved the needle on diversity.

The agency’s elite law-enforcement roster is 4.5 percent black, down from 5.7 percent in 1998 and 5.1 percent in 2008. Another 6.8 percent of special agents are Latino, down from 7.1 percent in 1998 and 7.9 percent in 2008, according to bureau statistics.

The higher you go up the agency ladder, the less likely you are to encounter men like Richard Garcia. Latinos make up 2.8 percent of the high-level managerial positions in the agency, according to an FBI spokeswoman. (Blacks make up 5 percent, and Asian-Americans are 2.5 percent.)

To read more click here. 

Secret Service on Hunt for More Hispanics to Become Sworn Agents to Diversify Agency

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Wanted: Hispanics to join the Secret Service.

Saying he wants to diversify the agency’s staff, which protects the president, vice president and others, Secret Service Senior Special Agent Clarence Jorif said only 7% of the 4,400 sworn agents are Hispanic, the Dallas Morning News reports.

“We are looking at affording the opportunity to the Hispanic community to become part of the Secret Service,” said Jorif, who works out of the agency’s Dallas field office.

In Dallas County, where his office is, 38.9% of the population is Hispanic.

It’s not yet clear how the agency will attract more diversity.

FBI Promoting Diversity With Interesting Pitch

Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth Morris

By Al Kamen
Washington Post Columnist
WASHINGTON –The FBI is interested in showing its commitment to diversity. So on its employment Web site, at http://www.fbijobs.gov/421.asp, it touts an “American Indian/Native Alaskan” initiative.

Alas, the bureau is using a picture on that page of a former special agent, Elizabeth Morris, who alleges that she was retaliated against, in part, for filing a complaint of workplace bias. Morris says she was fired in 2007 for filing a complaint against a supervisor for making racially insensitive remarks and for alleging that another agent sent subpoenas to dozens of businesses not under investigation with no intent of reviewing the records.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked the Justice Department inspector general to look into that.

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