IG finds former DCSA director sexually harassed employee, misused his position

The IG substantiated several allegations of misconduct by former DCSA Director William Lietzau, including sexual harassment and misusing his position to provide...

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from William Lietzau, disputing the DoD IG’s findings.


The Defense Department inspector general has substantiated multiple allegations of misconduct by William Lietzau, the former director of the Defense Counter Intelligence and Security Agency, including claims that he sexually harassed a subordinate employee.

In a report released Tuesday, the DoD IG also concluded that Lietzau misused his position by having staff check on the status of a family friend’s security clearance investigation. The IG additionally faulted Lietzau for violating the Hatch Act by sending political messages using his government email in the days before the 2020 election.

Lietzau, a retired Marine Corps officer and Defense Department official, denied any wrongdoing, both in statements to DoD’s OIG and to Federal News Network.

He retired from federal service in October after more than three years as director of DCSA, the agency that manages background investigations for the vast majority of federal employees and contractors who require security clearances.

The DoD IG investigation found Lietzau sexually harassed a female subordinate employee over a 19-month period, first during his tenure as the Personnel Vetting Transformation Office (PVTO) director and then as DCSA director.

During official travel for a conference in October 2019, Lietzau “placed himself physically
on top of” the employee in his hotel room “in an attempt to initiate intimacy,” the IG found. The employee rejected his advances then, according to the report, but Lietzau continued to harass her “over an extended period of time following this incident, even after she repeatedly refused his sexual advances.”

Lietzau took over as director of DCSA in March 2020.

The employee, referred to as “Subordinate A” in the report, told the IG that Lietzau’s continued harassment and other workplace misconduct “caused her to withdraw from consideration for two senior DCSA positions and transfer to another office to avoid further harassment from him.” The report includes records of texts and recorded phone calls between Lietzau and the employee.

In response to the IG’s initial conclusions, Lietzau argued the report “minimizes the exculpatory evidence,” lacks “necessary context,” and is “completely inaccurate,” according to the final report. But the IG said Lietzau’s assertions and the witnesses he identified don’t provide “direct and relevant” information about the allegations.

“By contrast, his admissions in his statements to us and his admissions in his texts and recorded conversations provide strong direct evidence of his conduct,” the IG wrote.

“We concluded that Mr. Lietzau engaged in an overall course of conduct in which he sexually harassed Subordinate A by engaging in unwelcome conduct and making comments that created a hostile work environment, and created the appearance that he favored her and engaged in a sexual relationship with her,” investigators wrote.

Beyond sexual harassment, the report also reviewed the IG’s investigation into several other allegations of misconduct against Lietzau during his time as DCSA director.

The IG concluded Lietzau misused his position when in August 2020 he tasked subordinates with looking into the security clearance status of a family friend as a “personal favor” to his sister-in-law.

Lietzau also told investigators he had also done a similar favor for his brother when he asked for an update on his security clearance status.

The DoD IG found in at least those two cases, Lietzau “used his public office for the benefit of a relative, and, in connection with federal employment, for the benefit of a family friend,” and that the disclosures also involved Privacy Act-protected information.

Furthermore, the IG concluded Lietzau engaged in partisan activity that violated the Hatch Act in the run up to the 2020 presidential election. Specifically, the IG reviewed a message Lietzau sent to his children on Nov. 1, and later forwarded to others, using his DoD email account in which he “shared his political views and analyzed the 2020 presidential election” to be held just two days later.

In response to the IG, Lietzau contended he “mistakenly used a government computer for a personal email” because he was working from home that week.

The IG also found Lietzau misused official time and resources to support a non-federal entity, and also consumed alcohol in the workplace without written authorization.

In a statement to Federal News Network after the final report’s publication, Lietzau continued to deny any wrongdoing.

“I did not commit any of the offences alleged against me in this report,” he said in a message Tuesday evening. “The report recounts a false narrative and omits facts that do not support that narrative. Even those facts that are accurate are taken completely out of context. I and others provided substantial evidence to the DoD IG that is not reflected in this report. To my knowledge, the DoD IG did not interview any of the many witnesses I recommended they contact. Nor did they secure readily available evidence that was counter to their narrative.”


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