The FBI grilled colleagues of a whistleblower about his support for former President Trump and whether he objected to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to internal files from the bureau’s Security Division.

The whistleblower served in the FBI for 12 years but, like several other employees, had his top secret security clearance pulled in the wake of Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot — and is now represented by the nonprofit Empower Oversight.

In a Saturday letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt revealed that his group obtained the “pre-printed” questions fellow bureau employees were presented with about their client.

In a Saturday letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt revealed that his group obtained the “pre-printed” questions fellow bureau employees were presented about their client. Bonnie Cash/UPI/Shutterstock

The Clearance Investigations Unit questionnaire asks whether the client would ever “vocalize support for President Trump,” “vocalize objection to Covid-19 vaccination,” “vocalize intent to attend 01/06/2021” or “attended the Richmond Lobby Day event on 1/18/2021.”

Some of the other questions were redacted, along with the identity of the whistleblower.

His colleagues were told they had a “duty to reply” to each question “fully and truthfully” or “action against your security clearance may be undertaken and you may be referred to Inspection Division for possible disciplinary action.”

They described him as having “right wing views” or “strong Republican values” that were “nothing extreme” — but had “never implied [he] would do anything physical” or promoted “violence.”

The whistleblower worked in the bureau for 12 years, earned cash awards and high marks on his performance evaluations — but had his security clearance taken in March 2022 and was suspended without pay during the internal investigation.

He took personal leave to attend the “Save America” rally alongside other Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, but reported that fact himself to an FBI security official, did not enter the Capitol grounds, offered to take a polygraph test to prove it and was informed by an examiner for the inspector general’s office during the probe that there was “no deception” in his answer, Leavitt’s letter notes.

After his clearance was suspended, the whistleblower also made protected disclosures to the House Judiciary Committee alleging that the security process was being politicized and abused by the FBI.

The whistleblower took personal leave to attend the “Save America” rally alongside other Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, but reported that fact himself to an FBI security official and did not enter the Capitol grounds. Getty Images

FBI Executive Assistant Director Jennifer Leigh Moore eventually revoked the clearance in April 2023 following the investigation, and the whistleblower has recently retired from the bureau — but Empower Oversight is still appealing the decision, given its weight for future employment opportunities.

“The documents appear to demonstrate [the Security Division]’s political bias and abuse of the security clearance process to purge the FBI of employees who expressed disfavored political views or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement,” Leavitt told Horowitz.

“Instead of limiting its investigation to legitimate issues, [the Security Division] acted as if support for President Trump, objecting to COVID-19 vaccinations, or lawfully attending a protest was the equivalent of being a member ofAl Qaeda or the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

“The documents appear to demonstrate [the Security Division]’s political bias and abuse of the security clearance process to purge the FBI of employees who expressed disfavored political views or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement,” Leavitt told Horowitz. AP

US Supreme Court precedent, he added, has held that terminating federal employees for even “treasonable or seditious utterances or acts” violates the First Amendment.

“Revoking a security clearance for being near those who did or merely sharing some similar political views as others who acted unlawfully is pure guilt by association,” Leavitt said.

He added that the internal bureau documents make it “reasonable” to assume this pattern of free speech suppression has been followed “in many other cases in an effort to purge employees with disfavored views from the FBI.”

Leavitt has requested that Horowitz’s office conduct its own investigation as to “the scope of these abuses” in the FBI, which is led by Director Christopher Wray, and to identify those responsible. ZUMAPRESS.com

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate in a June 21, 2023, missive to the DOJ inspector general’s office similarly said “anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to January 6th did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job.”

Leavitt has requested that Horowitz’s office conduct its own investigation as to “the scope of these abuses” and to identify those responsible.

The letter follows a DOJ OIG probe in May that had found the FBI had improperly retaliated against whistleblowers who had their security clearances suspended.

Neither the FBI nor the OIG’s office immediately responded to a request for comment.



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