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Justice report claims FBI retaliation

July 18, 2006 at 10:02 AM

WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department said it has found evidence that senior FBI officials retaliated against an Arabic speaker after he complained to a congressman.

The department's Office of Professional Responsibility said it has uncovered "sufficient circumstantial evidence" that suggests Special Agent Bassem Youssef was barred from a 2002 counterterrorism operation after he and U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., met with FBI Director Robert Mueller to discuss Youssef's complaints of discrimination, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The office's report said Youssef had been approved for a transfer by Mueller before the meeting but it never occurred and the FBI "has provided no rationale" for canceling the transfer, which would have meant a promotion for Youssef. A former FBI official said Mueller was "appalled" that Youssef discussed his complaints with a congressman, the Post said.

"We found both the awareness of senior management and the timing of the failure to implement the placement to be circumstantial evidence of retaliation," the report said.

The Justice Department's Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management will make a final ruling on the case.

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