Horst D. Deckert

FBI Interrogated Employees Over Whistleblower’s Views on Trump, COVID Vaccine, Second Amendment

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Hyper-politicization of bureau disclosed in DOJ’s Office of Inspector General report.

The FBI Security Division questioned colleagues of a whistleblower about his support of former President Donald Trump and his objection to the COVID-19 injection, according to internal bureau documents.

The whistleblower served in the FBI for 12 years but was suspended without pay in the wake of his attendance at the January 6 Capitol riot.

He is now represented by the nonprofit Empower Oversight, whose president Tristan Leavitt sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on June 8th revealing that his group obtained the “pre-printed” questions FBI employees were asked about their client.

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”, a Second Amendment rally in Virginia.

Some of the other questions were redacted, including the whistleblower’s identity.

The FBI employees were also 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.”

Empower Oversight stressed the inappropriate and politicized nature of the questions in its letter, highlighting the Supreme Court’s analysis of the First Amendment.

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,” the group wrote.

The Supreme Court also held “the First Amendment protects political association as well as political expression,” and such protections display our “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open…”

Therefore, the FBI’s preprinted form used to grill employees about their co-worker’s views about Trump and the COVID shot represent an infringement of basic civil rights.

“It is one thing to determine if the agent under investigation had breached the Capitol, committed any crimes, or advocated for others to engage in illegal acts. But none of the questions posed had anything to do with those legitimate issues,” The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland wrote.

The whistleblower’s lawyers stress that point in their letter to the inspector general, writing that the FBI “has legitimate reasons to revoke the security clearances of employees who engage in or support unlawful acts, particularly those designed to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.” They continued, “But our client did not do any of those things.”

Yet the FBI revoked the agent’s security clearance and questioned his or her co-workers about the suspended agent’s views on political matters. It’s disturbing enough that the FBI apparently believes those who favor Trump or support the Second Amendment represent a security risk, but by focusing on an agent’s position on COVID vaccinations, the bureau has exposed its true agenda: to weed out anyone with “wrongthink.” 

The whistleblower’s security clearance was revoked in March 2022 and he was suspended without pay during the internal investigation. He has since retired from the bureau but hopes to regain his security clearance.

“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 of Al Qaeda or the Chinese Communist Party,” he wrote.

“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 added, noting this pattern of suppression was likely used “in many other cases in an effort to purge employees with disfavored views from the FBI.”

The letter comes after an OIG probe in May which found the FBI had improperly retaliated against whistleblowers who had their security clearances suspended.

Read the Empower Oversight letter to the Inspector General:


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