FBI Agents awaiting promotions in the New Haven, Connecticut field office realized they might have to wait for a long time.
Especially after Special Agent in Charge Patricia Ferrick passed over decorated agents and instead promoted her husband who worked in the same office, a fact that agents say has helped the office earn its reputed reputation in FBI lore.
A reputation as the worst FBI field office in America.
Welcome to New Haven, a quaint town that boasts Yale University and its tony suburbs along with an FBI office ruled by “fear and intimidation,” as one internal FBI report deemed it. A place where agents tail other agents and where FBI brass designate outliers as potential terrorists so they can win employment grievances.
The chronic shenanigans at the FBI’s New Haven field office are literally costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
“I had a buddy who was assigned to New Haven when we were working in New York City and I said ‘No, don’t go. Don’t do it. It’s a career disaster,’ ” said one veteran FBI agent.
Turns out, for many FBI agents, he was right. And it is even worse. Current and former agents told True Pundit working in New Haven caused severe depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Yes, suicide. The FBI’s little known and ugly secret, often referred to as “eating my gun” when FBI agents describe their thoughts of escaping bad working conditions gone haywire. Even when many FBI agents end their own lives, it is seldom reported as a suicide.
The stress of taking on the FBI’s culture can attribute to such severe depression. When agents buck the system and press for their rights in employment disputes they are met with a fierce backlash that many say is not waged to dispute the agent’s grievance but instead ruin that agent’s life. Ruin their career, sink them in legal bills, debt, foreclosure, break up a marriage, depression, even suicide.
You want to take on the Bureau even if you’ve been treated capriciously, prepare for the fight of your life. It’s the same techniques the FBI and Justice Department employ against criminal defendants who won’t work a plea deal or seek a jury trial.
If things are that bad, why doesn’t someone in the Justice Department or Washington, D.C. do something about it. Ferrick who runs the office is a close associate of recently defrocked and fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Under McCabe’s supervision, agents seldom filed complaints because they feared they would be ignored. Often, they were. Others who did file complaints were put through a vicious gauntlet designed by FBI brass.
SAC Patricia Ferrick
McCabe’s influence and management philosophy still has tentacles throughout numerous key FBI field offices, sources said. That includes New Haven, although it is on a much smaller scale compared to Las Vegas, Los Angeles or even Little Rock where McCabe’s influence is still seen in the Bureau’s leadership of each office.
Ferrick and her inner circle are accused of, among other infractions, running an office plagued with pay-for-play, favoritism, hundreds of thousands spent in legal fees to fight lawsuits and internal complaints, alleged illegal surveillance on their own agents.
And retaliation. Lots of retaliation.
“New Haven has been a real shit show for a long time,” one DEA agent said. “Everyone in the northeast knows it, not just FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s office up here is no better because they cover for them.”
Two agents in New Haven have uncovered just how rife the office is with corruption and downright pettiness that is costing taxpayers untold millions of dollars.
Special Agent Kurt Siuzdak filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department and then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2014 for serious workplace problems in New Haven. Now, four years later, that case is still active but a federal judge has directed the FBI and Justice Department to settle the case, sources said.
“The judge said if this gets in front of a jury and goes public, it will become a major black eye for the FBI,” one FBI insider said. “The judge has coaxed the Justice Department to pull the plug and save itself the embarrassment. Settle it. Pay the agent and walk away.”
It turns out the New Haven FBI might have messed with the wrong agent. Siuzdak is a 21-year FBI veteran and also a trial lawyer who worked in New York as a legal attache to Iraq for the Bureau before joining New Haven in 2009.
That’s when the trouble began for the former Army veteran who was also one of the FBI agents who responded to and worked the World Trade Center bombings on September 11, 2001.
Siuzdak maintains he was passed over for promotions because New Haven’s FBI leadership awarded promotions based on social affiliations: popularity, not achievement. Just like a high school prom committee. When Siuzdak complained that New Haven’s leadership was feckless, dysfunctional and arbitrary, he was professionally minimized, harassed, retaliated against and even subjected to a baseless internal investigation.
That included being followed by colleagues like a common criminal, sources said.
It is hard to understand why Siuzdak was targeted so viciously. It was not a surprise — even after the agent blew the whistle — that New Haven wasn’t the FBI’s shining field office on a hill.
According to internal FBI employment surveys in 2012 and 2013, agents hammered the office with brutally-low ratings for leadership, employee treatment and overall office morale. A January 2013 an inspection by FBI headquarters of New Haven’s violent crime task forces found that “senior management was described as leading by fear and intimidation, negatively impacting both internal personnel and the liaison relationships with the FBI’s external partners.”
As FBI Director, James Comey visited the New Haven office in 2014 and vowed to clean it up. He also apologized to agents in a speech for the Bureau’s past transgressions of workplace slights in New Haven. Four years later, agents said the office is worse than ever.
Just ask New Haven FBI Special Agent Omar Montoya.
He sued the FBI, Justice Department, Jeff Sessions and Christopher Wray in September.
Montoya’s case is entwined with Special Agent Kurt Siuzdak’s case in a somewhat strange way. Before any FBI agent can file a case in federal court, they are required to file the grievances within the FBI’s office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs (“EEO”). Montoya, who worked as a GS-11 electronics technician for the FBI, was also the internal FBI EEO counselor who was assigned to another agent’s case in 2015.
Sources said Montoya recognized the unnamed agent’s case was so well documented that he told supervisors and FBI brass in New Haven that they should settle the case, it was doubtful the FBI would win the case, specially if it reached federal court, sources said.
Outraged that Montoya would not string out a decision for a referral on the case — delay the case to frustrate the agent — FBI brass harassed and retaliated against Montoya.
From Montoya’s federal lawsuit:
On or about April 24, 2015, plaintiff assisted an FBI Special Agent (“SA1”)
initiate an EEO complaint against his FBI supervisors, including SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline.
SA1’s EEO complaint alleged, inter alia, claims of discrimination and retaliation against his FBI
supervisors, including but not necessarily limited to SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline.
On or about April 24, 2015, as part of his duties as an EEO counselor, plaintiff
interviewed both SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline in connection with SA1’s EEO complaint and in
an effort to mediate a resolution to the EEO complaint. When he interviewed SAC Ferrick and
ASAC Kline, however, both FBI supervisors resisted plaintiff’s efforts to explore a mediated
solution and demonstrated contempt for the EEO process. In fact, when plaintiff met with
ASAC Kline to discuss SA1’s EEO complaint, he became angry with plaintiff and attempted to
Soon after plaintiff interviewed SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline in his capacity as
an EEO counselor in connection with SA1’s EEO complaint and provided SA1 with his Notice
of Right to File an EEO complaint, his FBI supervisors began to harass him and treat him
differently and less favorably than other FBI employees.
On or about July 1, 2015 – and shortly after he had interviewed SAC Ferrick and
ASAC Kline in connection with SA1’s EEO complaint – plaintiff sent an e-mail to the FBI
executive management at the FBI’s NHD, including SAC Ferrick and ASAC Kline, reporting
what he believed to have been an abuse of authority by an FBI supervisor.
Montoya maintains New Haven FBI brass canceled a promotion by “falsely mischaracterized and misrepresented plaintiff’s work performance as deficient in an effort to ensure that he would be denied a promotion to the GS-12 level.”
No such promotion was given. Montoya began to suffer medical problems from the stress at the New Haven FBI.
So far, FBI agents in New Haven have sued Eric Holder, the FBI, Jeff Sessions, Christopher Wray and that list could grow larger. Other cases working their way through the FBI’s internal complaint process could blossom into federal civil cases, sources said.
Each case — whether it reaches federal court or not — requires lawyers from the Justice Department. And that gets expensive. If the FBI loses a case, the Justice Department has to not only underwrite its legal fees to fight the case, but also pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. Then, taxpayers are on the hook for cash settlements which normally top out at $300,000 though many can exceed that amount based on back pay and lost promotions and benefits, sources said.
Then there are the man hours when supervisors assigned FBI agents to surveillance of other FBI agents who make formal complaints.
“Cars sat parked outside our house for weeks at a time, following us, keeping tabs on everywhere we went,” one FBI source said. “These agents weren’t working cases, they were intimidating their colleagues and getting paid handsomely to do it.
“These are mutts. Who would listen to a supervisor and sit on an agent’s house? The lowest of the low. It hurts morale. Kills it.”
And it is expensive. Very expensive.
That said, the shenanigans at the FBI’s New Haven field office are literally costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
And while Montoya’s lawsuit fails to detail another toll unseen on a balance sheet, FBI sources said FBI brass in New Haven targeted Montoya with a dirty trick that likely contributed to his stress-induced medical woes and health decline.
Montoya emigrated to the United States from Ecuador in 1993 and became a legal resident of the United States. By 1994, he was a legal citizen as was enrolled in the Army from 1994 through 2002, deployed to Saudi Arabia and South Korea. From 2003 to 2006 he was employed as a civilian contractor the U.S. Armed Forces, deployed to Iraq and central America as an aircraft mechanic. Then he enrolled in college and got his bachelor’s degree.
The American dream, really.
At the time, FBI sources said Peter Strzok was running a program in Washington D.C. called the Post-Adjudication Risk Management plan, or PARM, an FBI program initiated to catch problematic and criminal associations of FBI agents with foreign contacts. FBI insiders said Strzok used PARM to label Montonya an “insider threat” because of his international travel and service for the U.S. military and being that he was born in Ecuador.
“It’s the equivalent of being linked to terrorism inside the FBI,” one insider said. “Your career is frozen when you are designated an insider threat. McCabe and Stzok used this to silence many agents and Kerrick was behind this in New Haven. She dialed up McCabe to try and ruin Montoya, there is not doubt.”
Just to win a grievance over a promotion.
Sources said Montoya suffered multiple health issues after this and missed time at work, including a stint where he had to file for disability pay in order to keep up with his family’s bills and obligations because FBI brass didn’t want to pay him any more.
This is what the FBI does with agents who take on the system. They break good people. Some never come back. They “eat” their guns.
An no one in D.C. headquarters even blinks.
If the FBI does this to its own, just imagine what they are capable of doing to you.