The news that FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired hours before qualifying for retirement with full benefits somehow grew over the weekend into a false impression that the career FBI agent was stripped of his pension altogether.
Members of the media remarked that McCabe could “qualify for pension benefits” if he worked a little over a day in any other federal position. Several congressmen tweeted offers, saying they would be happy to hire McCabe for a day or so just so he could retire with benefits.
One suggestion from a McCabe supporter: if a friendly member of Congress hired him for a week he could possibly qualify for pension benefits by extending his service the extra days
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 17, 2018
However, McCabe has not been stripped of his pension at all. In fact, that is impossible to do to a federal employee after five years of employment.
The 21-year career FBI official lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in early retirement benefits, including the privilege to retire at 50 rather than between 57 and age 62, a luxury virtually unheard of in the private sector. His yearly payments would reach around $60,000 if he qualified for the early retirement program.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired the FBI’s second in command after the DOJ’s inspector general found that McCabe had leaked sensitive information about an ongoing FBI investigation to the press and then lied about it to investigators. McCabe has been roundly criticized by President Trump for his involvement in both the Clinton email server investigation as well as the Russia investigation.
Critics of Sessions’s decision to fire McCabe just before he was to retire on Sunday called it “cruel” and “dangerous” and said it allowed too much freedom to an “erratic president.”