Harsh criticism by the FBI, congressional Democrats, and the news media to discredit three FBI whistleblowers who testified last week to Congress was an unprecedented response to government professionals who risked their careers to speak out against government corruption and abuse of power.
The condemnations of these persons revealing wrongdoing could have serious consequences.
By making it more difficult for government whistleblowers to speak out without fear of retaliation, these attacks not only hurt the reputation of the FBI as a nonpolitical institution but could also lead to damaging leaks of classified information to the press.
The FBI whistleblowers — suspended FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle, former FBI Special Agent Steve Friend, and suspended FBI Staff Operations Specialist Marcus Allen — testified before the U.S. House Weaponization of Government Subcommittee on May 18 about alleged corruption and politicization in the FBI and the FBI’s retaliation against them.
The FBI officers testified that the bureau stepped up its retaliation against them for agreeing to testify to Congress about their concerns, including stripping their security clearances.
According to Empower Oversight, a watchdog group providing legal representation to two of the FBI officers, the FBI has a habit of "suspending security clearances to retaliate against whistleblowers."
The FBI agents revealing wrongdoing were reportedly subject to retaliation because they dissented from the Biden administration’s official narrative that the Jan. 6, 2021 riot was an insurrection and an act of domestic terrorism fueled by white supremacists.
FBI management also went after those revealing wrongdoing because they thought the bureau’s pursuit and prosecution of people allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 riot was overkill and because they claimed to witness political bias by the bureau against conservatives.
This retaliation was especially harsh: FBI management made it impossible for the three officers to continue to serve with the Bureau after claiming their disagreement about the Jan. 6 riot indicated they were threats to U.S. national security, and traitors.
Making this worse, the FBI also tried to discredit the whistleblowers and sidestep allegations of whistleblower retaliation by claiming the FBI officers were not legitimate whistleblowers, a claim happily echoed by Democratic members during the May 18 hearing.
Aside from the absurdity of a government agency dismissing those exposing wrongdoing and complaints of whistleblower retaliation by claiming the accusers are not the real deal, it's impossible to imagine Democratic members of Congress, the mainstream media, or civil liberty groups like the ACLU going along with such outrageous behavior if these were government employees lodging whistleblowing complaints against a Republican administration.
Given the Durham report’s findings of how the FBI was thoroughly weaponized to undermine the Trump 2016 campaign and the Trump presidency as well as the fraudulent Oct. 2020 letter by 51 former intelligence officers about the Hunter Biden laptop, the allegations made by the FBI whistleblowers of politicized investigations of conservatives, and heavy-handed treatment of suspected Jan. 6 rioters, can’t be easily dismissed.
The allegations made by the FBI whistleblowers are alarming because they document not only that national security agencies have been weaponized to promote liberal political narratives and target conservatives but also are retaliating against those revealing wrongdoing who refuse to go along with these abuses.
Retaliation against government whistleblowers and efforts to discredit them could have profound implications for U.S. national security by discouraging FBI employees from using the whistleblower channel to report waste and abuse in the Bureau.
This could lead some talented and conscientious FBI officers to leave government service.
But far more worrisome, this retaliation could cause some would-be FBI whistleblowers to break the law and leak classified information to the news media.
Assuring that government revealers of wrongdoing can come forward without fear of retaliation is essential for government accountability, and for promoting a responsible and ethical federal workforce.
It therefore is crucial that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, halt retaliation against those revealing wrongdoing in the FBI (and any other government agency) and hold all managers who engage in such retaliation accountable.
Fred Fleitz is a Newsmax TV Contributor and vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security. He previously served as National Security Council Chief of staff, CIA analyst, and as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.