FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Thursday that the FBI will “hold employees accountable for any potential misconduct” in response to a newly released Justice Department watchdog report.
“I take this report very seriously and we accept its findings and recommendations,” Wray said. “The report does identify errors of judgment, violations of, or even disregard for, policy and decisions that at the very least with the benefit of hindsight were not the best choices.”
He added that “we’re going to hold employees accountable for any potential misconduct.”
The report, which was made public Thursday, rebuked then-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. It concluded that Comey’s actions were “insubordinate,” but did not find that he had been motivated by political bias.
Wray said during a news conference, “It’s also important to note what the inspector general did not find. This report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations actually impacting the investigation under review.”
When asked by a reporter to sum up his reaction to the report in a single word, he said, “Disappointed.”
Beyond delving into Comey’s conduct, the watchdog report addressed other topics, including anti-Trump text messages exchanged between FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The report said the messages “cast a cloud” over FBI actions but that no evidence was found “to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed.”
During his news conference, Wray outlined a series of steps the FBI will take to address issues raised by the report. He said the bureau has already “referred conduct highlighted in the report” to what he described as the FBI’s disciplinary arm, the Office of Professional Responsibility.
“We’re going to adhere to the appropriate disciplinary process and once that process is complete we won’t hesitate to hold people accountable for their actions,” he said.
Wray added that the FBI will require employees to undergo training, including instruction “on what went wrong so these mistakes will never be repeated.” He said the bureau will emphasize “the importance of objectivity, of avoiding even the appearance of personal conflicts or political bias in our work.”
The FBI director also said he has tapped the bureau’s associate deputy director “to lead a review of how the FBI handles sensitive investigations.”
Asked to comment on the bureau’s reputation, Wray said he believes the FBI’s brand is “doing just fine.”
“The opinions I care the most about are the opinions of the people who actually really know us and know us through our work,” he said. “So what I’m focused on is what do juries think when our agents take the stand? I’m focused on what judges think when we give them a search warrant. I’m focused on what victims and their families think when they are asked, ‘Who do you trust to get your child back?’ I’m focused on what do our state and local law enforcement partners think when they think who do they trust? Who do prosecutors want to work with on cases? To me, it’s the work that matters.”
CNN’s David Shortell, Laura Jarrett, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju contributed to this report