House Judiciary Committee Republicans called for a high-ranking human-resources executive at the FBI to make herself available for a transcribed interview after information indicated she retaliated against at least one bureau whistleblower who made a protected disclosure to Congress.
Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the panel’s ranking member, Darrell Issa of California and Mike Johnson of Louisiana, demanded in a letter to Jennifer Moore, the executive assistant director of the bureau’s Human Resource Branch, that she answer questions about retaliatory tactics of which she has been accused by FBI personnel who are speaking to lawmakers.
“We are investigating serious allegations of abuse and misconduct within the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During the course of this investigation, we have received protected whistleblower disclosures that the FBI is engaging in a ‘purge’ of employees with conservative views by revoking their security clearances and indefinitely suspending these employees,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.
They noted that Ms. Moore has signed many of the formal notices for these actions.
“Recently, we received information suggesting you have retaliated against at least one whistleblower who has made protected disclosures to Congress,” the lawmakers added.
The FBI disputed the lawmakers’ accusations and claimed it does not punish its employees based on First Amendment issues.
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“The FBI does not target or take adverse action against employees for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political views; to allege otherwise is false and misleading. The FBI is required to follow established policies and procedures, to include a thorough investigation, when suspending or revoking a security clearance,” the bureau wrote in a statement to The Washington Times.
“The FBI takes very seriously its responsibility to FBI employees who may make protected disclosures under the whistleblower regulations. FBI employees who report evidence of wrongdoing through a protected disclosure are protected from retaliation.”
According to a disclosure sent to Congress Thursday night, the FBI recently retaliated against a special agent after FBI investigators asked the agent whether he leaked information to the media related to the bureau‘s alleged misconduct in the Project Veritas investigation. The agent, the disclosure stated, lost his security clearance and was indefinitely suspended by the bureau.
According to the agent’s attorney, the agent never contacted the media and only communicated with GOP lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee.
Along with meeting with them for a transcribed interview, the Republicans also demanded Ms. Moore preserve all records and documents in her possession related to the matter.
“Under Title 5 of the United States Code, once a whistleblower makes a protected disclosure, an agency is prohibited from retaliating against the employee for that disclosure by taking or failing to take a personnel action,” the lawmakers wrote.
“We have advised Director [Christopher A.] Wray, as well as Attorney General Merrick Garland, that whistleblower disclosures to Congress are protected by law. Your efforts to interfere with FBI employees who seek to expose the Bureau’s misconduct by communicating directly with Congress cannot be condoned,” they warned.
House Republicans, who are poised to take the majority, are preparing a schedule of hearings and investigations into the FBI and the DOJ following a flood of complaints by whistleblowers who reported to Congress information about the bureau’s political bias against conservatives.