House Republican lawmakers say that whistleblowers have come forward to allege that the FBI is trying to terminate bureau employees who were present at a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
“The employees did not enter the United States Capitol and have not been charged with any crime,” but are allegedly still being fired, the House Judiciary GOP wrote in a Twitter post on May 6, citing unnamed whistleblowers at the bureau.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Republicans confirmed reports that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s Office is considering investigating whether the FBI revoked the security clearances of agents who attended the rally last year. Republicans in previous letters had argued that revoking their security passes essentially forces them out of a job because clearance is needed to work at the FBI.
“FBI employees do not give up their rights to engage in political speech activity,” reads the May 6 letter, which was signed by House Judiciary Committee ranking GOP member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “We have serious concerns that the FBI appears to be retaliating against employees for engaging in political speech disfavored by FBI leadership.”
An example cited in the letter was an employee who had worked for the FBI for more than a decade and had previously served in the U.S. military for 20 years. While on leave, this unnamed employee and others attended public events in Washington, and they didn’t enter the Capitol building, nor have they been charged with any crime, according to the whistleblowers.
With the latest actions that are allegedly being taken against those employees, Republicans believe that it creates “the appearance that the FBI may be retaliating” against them, the letter reads.
According to a Fox News report published on May 5, Inspector General Michael Horowitz told House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Jordan in a letter issued recently that his office “will ask the FBI to provide the bases for the security clearance and personnel actions taken against the employees you reference in your letter.”
“In making such an assessment, we will also consider information about other employees who believe the FBI has taken administrative actions against them for engaging in protected activities on January 6, 2021,” Horowitz wrote.
Jordan had reportedly written to Horowitz in April that those employees were suspended, even though they “did not enter the United States Capitol, have not been charged with any crime, and have not been contacted by law enforcement about their actions.”
Department of Justice officials didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment.