In a letter to the FBI, Rep. Jim Jordan said that whistleblowers have come forward with allegations that the bureau is attempting to terminate employees that were involved in First Amendment activity on January 6, 2021.
"According to several whistleblowers, the FBI is suspending the security clearances of FBI employees for their participation in protected First Amendment activity on January 6, 2021," the letter from Jordan, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, states.
Among the justifications from the FBI for these suspicions is "Adjective Guideline A — Allegiance to the United States."
Jordan said that this reasoning implies that "the FBI believes the employees who attended protests on January 6 are no longer loyal to the United States."
"Because a security clearance is required for FBI positions, the suspension of the security clearance means the FBI has suspended these employees from work indefinitely," wrote Jordan. "Such a suspension is likely to be the first step in terminating employment."
Citing an employee whose name was redacted, Jordan said that this person had been working for the FBI for more than a decade, and previously served 20 years in the military.
"According to whistleblowers, while on leave, these FBI employees attended public events in Washington DC with their spouses. We have been told that [redacted] and the other FBI employees 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," the letter states.
Jordan wrote that it is "extremely concerning that the FBI would seek to suspend the security clearances of these employees and begin the process to potentially terminate their employment altogether."
He added that it is "insulting" that the FBI would "openly question the patriotism of long-0time FBI employees" because they "exercised their First Amendment rights on their personal time without breaking any laws."
"The totality of the FBI's actions as relayed to us present the appearance that the FBI may be retaliating against these employees for disfavored political speech," wrote Jordan.
Jordan added that this perception is "buttressed by documentation of examples of political bias ingrained the FBI’s leadership culture," including one senior FBI official writing to a colleague that he "could SMELL the Trump support" at a southern Virginia Walmart.
"We are conducting oversight to ensure the FBI is not retaliating against FBI employees for exercising their First Amendment rights," wrote Jordan. "We ask for your personal assurance that the FBI will cooperate fully with the Inspector General's examination."
Jordan additionally requested that the FBI hold a staff-level briefing "concerning the FBI's personal actions against employees involved in First Amendment protected activity on January 6."
"Finally, we remind you that whistleblower disclosures to Congress are protected by law and that we will not tolerate any effort to retaliate against whistleblowers for their disclosures," Jordan concluded.
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