IG mulls probe into whether FBI retaliated against agents who attended Jan. 6 rally at the Capitol
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FIRST ON FOX – Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, told Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that he would consider launching an investigation into whether the FBI retaliated against agents who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, protest at the U.S. Capitol but who did not enter the building with rioters.
Jordan, citing FBI whistleblowers, urged Horowitz last month to investigate whistleblower claims that “the FBI is suspending the security clearances of FBI employees for their participation in protected First Amendment activity on January 6, 2021.” Since a security clearance is required for FBI positions, “these actions mean the FBI has suspended these employees indefinitely.”
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Jordan included the notice of suspension for one 10-year FBI employee who previously had honorably served in the U.S. military for more than 20 years. According to Jordan, the employees in question “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.”
Even so, the FBI revoked their clearances, citing “Adjudicative Guideline A – Allegiance to the United States.” This move appears to follow a Democratic tactic in conflating peaceful protesters on Jan. 6 with those who actively stormed the Capitol in an apparent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote for President Biden.
These moves “raise concerns that the Bureau may be taking significant steps toward firing these employees as retaliation for disfavored political speech.”
Horowitz stopped short of pledging to launch an investigation into the issue, but he did say he would reach out to the FBI and consider whether to open an investigation.
“In view of the concern you have raised, we will ask the FBI to provide the bases for the security clearance and personnel actions taken against the employees you reference in your letter,” Horowitz said in a letter Wednesday. “Based on the information we receive, we will assess whether to conduct a further review.”
“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 added.
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In his original letter, Jordan noted that although the Hatch Act prohibits FBI employees from engaging in partisan political campaigns or political management, FBI employees do not give up their fundamental rights to participate in political speech activity.