FBI whistleblowers testify that Biden admin retaliated against them for expressing concern over weaponization of government against Jan 6 defendants

"The FBI will crush you. This government will crush you and your family if you try to expose the truth about things that they are doing that are wrong."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, the House Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government heard from FBI whistleblowers who allege that the agency retaliated against them over their whistleblower disclosures, made to their direct superiors.

Garret O’Boyle, a US Army veteran and former FBI special agent, testified to Congress that he was "wrongfully suspended from the FBI."

O’Boyle said of his four years as a special agent with the FBI, "I received the highest annual review an employee can receive. I volunteered for, tried out for, and was selected for an FBI SWAT team; I also volunteered for, tried out for, and was selected for a new unit the FBI created and I received an award for my work on an anti-abortion extremism case."

"I’ve been smeared as a malcontent and subpar FBI employee. This smear stands in stark contrast to my life in public service," O’Boyle added.

He said that the smear campaign "is unsurprising," adding that depsite the oath to uphold the Constitution, "too many in the FBI aren’t willing to sacrifice for the hard right over the easy wrong."

"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. We know what is right to do, yet we too often refuse to do what is right because of the difficulty and suffering it incurs," he added.

O’Boyle said he couldn’t continue on the path without "speaking out agianst the weaponization I witnessed even if it meant losing my job, my career, my livelihood, my family’s home, and now, even my anonymity."

He later added, "I’ve sworn to defend this country from enemies both foreign and domestic, even if that means sacrificing my life."

O’Boyle stated that the FBI had allowed him to accept new orders to a position across the country, sell his family’s home, and he reported to the new unit just two weeks after his youngest daughter was born.

"Then, on my first day on the new assignment, they suspended me; rendering my family homeless and refused to release our household goods, including our clothes, for weeks," he said.

"All I wanted to do was serve my country by stopping bad guys and protecting the innocent. To my chagrin, bad guys have begun running parts of the government making it difficult to continue to serve this Nation and protect the innocent. But I for one, will never stop trying. And I’ll never forget my oath," he concluded.

During questioning, Rep. Kelly Armstrong asked O’Boyle what advice he would give to a fellow FBI colleague who may also come forward with whistleblower information.

"I’d tell them first to pray about it long and hard," O’Boyle responded. "And I would tell them, I could take it to Congress for them, or I could put them in touch with Congress, but I would advise them not to do it."

When asked by Armstrong if he would try to protect a colleague from doing what he has done, O’Boyle said, "absolutely."

O’Boyle later added, "the FBI will crush you. This government will crush you and your family if you try to expose the truth about things that they are doing that are wrong, and we are all examples of that."

The committee then heard from former FBI special agent Stephen Friend, who was in that position for eight and a half years.

In August of 2022, Friend made protected whistleblower disclosures to his immediate supervisors, assistant special agents in charge, and the special agent in charge about my concerns regarding January 6th investigations assigned to my office."

"I believe our departures from case management rules established in the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide could have undermined potentially righteous prosecutions and may have been part of an effort to inflate the FBI’s statistics on domestic extremism," Friend said.

He said that he also raised concerns that the FBI’s usage of SWAT and large-scale arrest operations to arrest those accused of nonviolent crime and who pledged to cooperate with federal authorities "created an unnecessary risk to FBI personnel and public safety."

Leadership warned him that despite his exemplary work performance, the whistleblower disclosures would place his future with the FBI at risk, Friend said.

Despite an oath to protect the US Constitution and trainings that "hammer home" the dangers of federal law enforcement, "the FBI weaponized the security clearance processes to facilitate my removal from active duty within one month of my disclosures," he said.

In addition to being suspended without pay indefinitely, "the FBI initiated a campaign of humiliation and intimidation to punish and pressure me to resign," with Friend stating that people within the FBI leaked his medical information to a New York Times reporter, the FBI refused to furnish his training records, and have only provided a small portion of these records so far. These records, he said, are vital in obtaining private investigator and firearms licenses in Florida.

"The FBI denied my request to seek outside employment, in an obvious attempt to deprive me of the ability to support my family. Finally, the FBI Inspection Division imposed an illegal gag order in an attempt to prevent me from communicating with my family and attorneys," he added.

Friend spoke in reference to a letter from ABI Acting Assistant Director Christopher Dunham sent to the committee on May 17, in which one section stated, "This concern is that criminal activity creates doubt about a person's judgement, reliability, and trustworthiness. By its very nature, it calls into question a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations. This includes evidence of criminal conduct, regardless of whether the individual was formally charged, prosecuted, or convicted."

Friend stated that the passage was in reference to an audio recording he made of an August 23, 2022 meeting with Jacksonville Assistant Special Agents in Charge Coult Markovsky and Sean Ryan.

Friend stated that after he made the whistleblower disclosures to his immediate supervisor on August 19, 2022, he was summoned into a meeting by Markovsky, who said the meeting was intended to be an opportunity to discuss Friend’s concerns.

Friend was concerned that he could have been compelled to participate in an activity that puts the public at risk during this meeting, and consulted Florida’s laws regarding recordings. He said that "it was my sincere belief that my ASAC’s were also recording our conversation," noting that they frequently repeated themselves and asked that Friend respond in the affirmative.

"I sacrificed my dream job to share this information with the American people. I humbly ask all members to do your jobs and consider the merits of what I have presented," Friend concluded.

The committee also heard from Marcus Allen, a veteran and Staff Operations Specialist with the FBI who has been suspended without pay for over a year.

"Despite my history of unblemished service to the United States, the FBI suspended my security clearance, accusing me of actually being disloyal to my country," he said.

Allen stated that the accusation is based upon accusations that he holds "conspiratorial views" regarding the events of January 6, 2021 and that he sympathizes with the criminal conduct that occurred that day. "I do not," he said.

"I was not in Washington DC on January 6, played no part in the events of January 6, and I condemn all criminal activity that occurred. Instead, it appears that I was retaliated against because I forwarded information to my superiors and others that questioned the official narrative of the events of January 6," Allen said.

"Because of this," he added, "the FBI questioned by allegiance to the United States."

Allen said he was suspended in January of 2022, and wasn’t interviewed by anyone from the FBI until May of that year. "This interaction with the FBI happened on the heels of a public statement from a congressional member in early May of 2022," he said.

"The member made statements indicating the FBI was conducting a purge of employees with conservative viewpoints. Within hours of the public statements my counsel received a phone call from the FBI wanting to see if they could conduct an interview. I promptly complied and did an interview with investigators within a week," Allen continued, adding that the FBI has been stonewalling, and that he has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Allen said that his counsel recently filed a whistleblower complaint with the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General alleging retaliation through misuse of the security clearance process, and that in the wake of this filing, he was informed by the FBI that his security clearance was formally revoked.

Allen said that his family has had to make early withdrawals from their retirement accounts to survive as the FBI "has ignored my request for approval to obtain outside employment during the review of my security clearance."

"We have lost our federal health insurance coverage. There is apparently no end in sight," he added.

While questioning Allen, Rep. Loretta Sanchez brought up a social media account that liked a post claiming former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi staged January 6. Allen responded that that wasn’t his social media account, and he did not agree with the statement.

During the hearing, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz argued with subcommittee chair Jim Jordan, saying that the FBI has determined the three who testified are not whistleblowers.

Jordan replied that it’s not the FBI who decides who is a whistleblower, but rather the law.


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