Yesterday, with no prior announcement the FBI took the unprecedented step of releasing the complete records of their own internal Annual Employee Survey from the years 2013 up to the most recent in 2017.  Perhaps even more interesting though is that this surprise release also included a special separate set of employee evaluation results solely targeted on staff opinion regarding now former FBI Director James Comey. 

If you are interested in taking a look into the previously confidential records yourself, you may find them here listed on the official FBI Vault website.  For those with a little less time on their hands though, let’s break down some highlights.

With all the attention paid recently to Mr. Comey, it certainly is interesting to have this chance to see how he was perceived internally inside the bureau. Below I will include some charts (brought to you by our friends over at Zerohedge) graphing the results of the of the data regarding Comey, but first let’s quickly breakdown how the survey itself works.

In the FBI’s own words, “Each survey item is rated on a five-point scale.”

  • Average scores between 1.0 and 2.99 indicate potential areas of concern which could worsen if not addressed. 
  • Average scores between 3.0 and 3.80 indicate positive feedback in these areas with potential for improvement.
  • Average scores between 3.81 and 5 indicates success in those areas.

In the graphs you will see below its clear that if these surveys are to be believed. The man was viewed by and large quite positively across the board. However there is also, a clear downward trend over the last three years of his tenure in almost every category.  Which raises the question of whether he would have continued to be viewed so positively had he stayed on much longer.

All this data still leaves us with the question, of just why these were released now?  In the past the only reason for such sudden information releases from the FBI is that they were complying with a Freedom of Information Act request from some anonymous source.

While that is certainly a plausible explanation, with the FBI facing increased public scrutiny in the wake of the Comey ousting.  With even some high profile lawmakers stating the public faith in the organization has been shaken.  It’s possible the FBI simply wanted a positive story to get out there.  The records released would seem to support one after all.  With the numbers seeming to be implying that the tenure of Comey was by and large a good one for the FBI. This can be seen in the fact that the responses to key questions such as, “I believe in the mission of the FBI”, “I am proud to work for the FBI”, and “Am I Cynical about the FBI”, all were far more positive in 2017 then in 2013. 

It’s not all that unreasonable to believe there was an agenda behind this release. The fact they didn’t simply just release the full records from 2013 to 2017, and instead took the time to pull just the data regarding Comey into it’s own neatly packaged report, seems to support the argument for a political agenda driven motivation.  If that was the case here it already seems to be working as just minutes ago the New York Times published a story around the records release pushing a strong Pro-Comey Anti-Trump narrative.  Let us not also forget the FBI has a long and sordid history of meddling in politics, so this type of behavior would be nothing new.

Hopefully the FBI will opt to release these same survey results next year so we can get a glimpse of how the newly Trump appointed 8th Director of the FBI Christoper Wray is perceived.  Though something tells me if it’s positive, we might need to actually file a Freedom Of Information Act request to ever be allowed to see it.


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