Three whistleblower FBI agents testified at a committee hearing Thursday, where they backed GOP allegations that the federal agency was being used against conservatives.
Their testimony came just days after special counsel John Durham released a report where he said the FBI should not have opened an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and that it had used partisan-sourced material to justify its investigation.
“I am sad, I am disappointed, and I am angry that I have to be here to testify about the weaponization of the FBI and DOJ,” said Special Agent Garret O’Boyle in his written testimony.
Prior to the hearing, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, spoke at a press conference where he said the whistleblowers helped him compile a report on problems with the FBI, according to Fox News.
“If you’re a parent attending a school board meeting; if you’re a pro-lifer praying at a clinic, or you’re a Catholic simply going to mass, you are a target of the government, a target of the FBI,” Jordan said.
Stewart: Congress should have oversight over FBI
During remarks at the hearing, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, who represents Utah’s 2nd District, praised the whistleblowers and said he was concerned about the power given to the FBI.
“I’m telling you that as someone who sat on the Intelligence Committee for years and used to be a defender of the FBI, and to watch their activity over the last few years, I completely believe you, because I’ve seen it again and again and again,” he said. “And probably the most concerning thing I’ve seen in Congress is this weaponization of federal agencies.”
Stewart also suggested the whistleblowers had to come forward because Congress doesn’t have oversight over the FBI.
“They should, and they must be able to have oversight by Congress, and they simply don’t. And that forces you as whistleblowers to come forward through another vehicle,” he said.
Committee lawmakers butt heads
During the hearing Thursday, Rep. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, asked Jordan whether Democrats could get a transcript of the testimony given before the hearing by whistleblower Marcus Allen, an FBI staff operations specialist. Allen also testified at the hearing Thursday.
Jordan declined the request, saying that Allen didn’t want to provide his testimony to Democrats and that they aren’t entitled to his whistleblower testimony.
According to CNN, several Democrats, including Plaskett, questioned whether Allen and other FBI agents should be classified as whistleblowers.
“The law has not determined they are whistleblowers. His attorney is just asserting that,” she said.
Report: “Egregious abuse” at the FBI
Before the hearing, the committee released a report detailing whistleblower testimony from several current and former FBI employees.
It says there was “egregious abuse, misallocation of law-enforcement resources, and misconduct with the leadership ranks of the FBI.”
Testimony given by Former FBI Special Agent Steve Friend and Allen was included in the report. They questioned the recent decision by FBI Acting Assistant Director Christopher Dunham to revoke their security clearances, after he sent a letter to the committee alleging that the two agents had “expressed sympathy” or didn’t do their duties in regard to investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
At the hearing, O’Boyle said that FBI agents are afraid to speak out because “they see what becomes of whistleblowers; how the FBI destroys their careers, suspends them under false pretenses, takes their security clearances and pay with no true options for real recourse or remedy.”
“This is by design; it creates an Orwellian atmosphere that silences opposition and discussion,” O’Boyle added.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said that the “rot” within the FBI originates from the Washington, D.C., field office, per Fox News.
“A lot of the rot, the committee has learned, emerges out of headquarters, out of the Washington field office,” Gaetz said, adding that officials in this main office pressured “other field offices around the country to engage in law enforcement work without predication.”
The report concludes by alleging that the FBI is “broken” under the leadership of Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland. It further states that the federal agency is purging agents who may hold conservative views.
The subcommittee referred the FBI’s treatment of the whistleblowers to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the inspector general for further review.