FBIThe curious case of the twice-fired FBI analyst

By Topher Sanders

Published 25 April 2018

Said Barodi, a Muslim American, had been deemed an “excellent” employee over a decade of work with the bureau before he was fired after a run-in at an airport. He won his appeal to get his job back, only to be fired again. He says his heritage made him a target. “I was the enemy within,” he says.

On 22 February 2018, when Said Barodi received the letter from the deputy director of the FBI, he expected bad news.

A year earlier, Barodi had been fired as an analyst for the bureau, a job he’d treasured for nearly a decade. Barodi, a Muslim born in Morocco, had been accused of “unprofessional conduct” during an encounter with a federal agent at an airport overseas and of “lack of candor” with a customs agent at Dulles International Airport. Barodi had resisted the agent’s questions because he felt he’d been singled out for his race and religion.

Barodi, however, had won a rare victory when he appealed his firing. The FBI’s Disciplinary Review Board had dismissed two of the three charges and reduced his punishment to a 20-day suspension. He’d been cleared to rejoin the bureau.

But then Barodi waited months for the FBI to complete the basic security check he needed to go back to work. Amid the delays and the silence, fatalism took hold.

The February letter just confirmed the feeling.

“Acting pursuant to my delegated authority,” wrote David Bowdich, second in command at the bureau, “I hereby dismiss you from the rolls of the FBI.”

Barodi had been fired from the FBI for the second time.

Senior officials at the FBI have admitted in recent years that the bureau’s lack of diversity amounts to a crisis, undermining the agency’s effectiveness. Those officials have publicly pledged to do better, and insisted the bureau is eager to sign up people of all races and faiths.

Said Barodi’s career — hired, fired, rehired, and fired again — will not do much to make the FBI’s case.

Barodi had begun working for the FBI while still in college. He’d joined the bureau, he said, in part because he wanted to repay the U.S. for granting him citizenship. His superiors had routinely rated his work as “excellent” in reviews and had even awarded him cash bonuses for his performance. He’d been saluted for mentoring younger analysts.

It’s true Barodi had been outspoken, even confrontational, about the fact that many Muslim agents and analysts believed they were regarded with suspicion by their own colleagues. He’d even engaged in an email exchange with then-FBI Director James Comey about this.

Still, Comey had ended the exchange by thanking Barodi for his “service to the FBI and the nation.”

That was three months before he was fired the first time.