FBI whistleblowers have come forward to reveal a disturbing pattern of senior department officials handling politically charged investigations in a partisan manner in the weeks leading up to the raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The whistleblower reports began in late July with a public release from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, on the “double standard In pursuit of politically charged investigations By senior FBI, DOJ officials,”
“Multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions, are raising the alarm about tampering by senior FBI and Justice Department officials in politically sensitive investigations ranging from election and campaign finance probes across multiple election cycles to investigative activity involving derogatory information on Hunter Biden’s financial and foreign business activities,” Grassley’s report said. “The legally protected disclosures to Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley suggest a political double standard has influenced and infected decisions in matters of paramount public interest.”
In particular, Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault was implicated in the unprecedented raid on the former president’s home. FBI agents from the Washington field office were among the more than thirty agents who were directly involved in carrying out the raid.
“Whistleblowers allege that Washington Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault disregarded agency guidelines requiring substantial factual predication to trigger investigations, while declining to move forward with other investigations despite proper predication,” the senator’s office stated. “Thibault and Richard Pilger, director of the election crimes branch within the FBI’s public integrity section, reportedly were instrumental in the opening of an investigation into the Trump campaign and its associates based in substantial part on information from left-aligned organization. Thibault allegedly scrubbed and diluted details of the sources’ political bias from a memo seeking the full investigation, which was ultimately approved by FBI Director Chris Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.”
Both Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray were involved in the decision to greenlight the raid on the former president’s home based on an overly broad search warrant that sought both classified documents and unclassified documents. Former President Trump claimed that the FBI violated executive privilege and attorney-client privilege when it seized documents from his Mar-a-Lago office. Trump has since demanded return of the documents.
“Whistleblowers claim that Thibault, Pilger and others didn’t always adhere to agency policies in their supervision of various election-related matters, including campaign finance investigations across multiple presidential election cycles,” Grassley’s office added. “These claims comport with testimony from former acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who previously told the committee that leadership within the public integrity section and election crimes branch frequently asserted authority they did not have, which frustrated and discouraged investigations.”
“Simply put, if a politically charged investigation is to be opened, the Justice Department and FBI have an obligation to ensure that it’s done the right way. Based on the allegations, that does not appear to have happened. Such improper conduct demands further explanation from the Justice Department and FBI,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Wray and Garland that was made public in late July.
Grassley previously raised concerns about “left-wing social media posts by Thibault, which likely violated federal laws department policies.” Following Grassley’s letter, the Inspector General “referred Thibault to the Office of Special Counsel for potential Hatch Act violations.”
Sen. Grassley spoke with FBI Director Christopher Wray in the aftermath of the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.
“Less than a week ago, I expressed serious concern that what little remains of the FBI’s credibility is on the line following its inconsistent handling of politically sensitive investigations, failure to hold its own employees accountable for misconduct and consistent disregard for congressional oversight. Last night’s raid on the home of a former U.S. president without explanation will only further erode confidence in the FBI and the Justice Department,” Grassley said.
“I reiterated these concerns to Director Wray today,” the senator’s statement added. “If the FBI isn’t extraordinarily transparent about its justification for yesterday’s actions and committed to rooting out political bias that has infected their most sensitive investigations, they will have sealed their own fate. The FBI’s mission and the many patriotic agents who work hard to carry it out will be forever overshadowed by the distrust the bureau has sown.”
“The Justice Department as a whole bears responsibility in upholding the public trust, and in a matter so consequential to our democratic process, Attorney General Garland also owes the American people full transparency,” Grassley said.
An FBI whistleblower has also come forward to further attest to the politicization of the Justice Department in a crackdown on an alleged surge in “far-right extremism.”
“A whistleblower came forward with the name of a second FBI official who allegedly pressured agents to label cases as ‘domestic violent extremism’ to boost case numbers, according to House Judiciary Committee Republicans,” a Breitbart report referenced by Congressman Mike Johnson attested.
“Jill Sanborn, a now-Roku employee who worked at the FBI for more than two decades, is one of now two officials a whistleblower has identified as having ‘exerted pressure on agents to reclassify cases as DVE [domestic violent extremism] matters,'” according to a letter obtained by Breitbart News.
“The letter, written by Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and committee member Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), comes on the heels of the whistleblower contacting Jordan’s office in July and accusing another FBI official, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault, of also seeking to inflate domestic violent extremism case numbers,” the report added.
The whistleblower allegations, Jordan noted, were “scandalous” in light of the Biden administration’s extraordinary efforts to frame “far-right” domestic violent extremism as America’s “greatest threat.”
On Saturday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint intelligence bulletin in the aftermath of the FBI’s raid at Mar-A-Lago on Monday and a reported attack at an FBI facility in Cincinatti, Ohio on Thursday.
In the memo to “Colleagues,” the joint intelligence bulletin predicts an “increase in threats of violence, including armed encounters, against law enforcement, judiciary, and government personnel, in reaction to the FBI’s recent execution of a court-authorized search warrant in Palm Beach, Florida.”
“Since the search, the FBI and DHS have observed an increase in violent threats posted on social media against federal officials and facilities,” the memo added.
“Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of our workforce and the security of federal facilities, we are encouraging you to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings and to exercise caution as you go about your daily routine,” the memo warns.
The joint intelligence bulletin also references a June 7 National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin warning of “domestic extremists” who “have expressed grievances to the false perception that the U.S. government is not working to maintain security along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The joint intelligence bulletin admits that “[w]hile there is no current, specific, credible threats to any of our employees or locations, recent events such as the 11 August 2022 attempted entry of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office, remind us that our important work could put us in situations that can be both difficult and dangerous.”
The joint intelligence bulletin is referring to an incident on Thursday where a man reportedly carrying an AR-15 and wearing body armor reportedly fired a nail gun while attempting to breach an FBI Visitor Screening Facility. A 60-mile manhunt ensued to a field near the intersection of I-71 and Highway 73, where the suspect was fatally shot after failed negotiations. The suspect was later identified as Ricky Walter Shiffer.
FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this week blasted critics of its Trump raid as ‘dangerous’ and claimed that pushback was leading to an increase in death threats against agents.
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said on Wednesday. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
On Sunday morning, a man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol and began firing gunshots into the air before fatally shooting himself. The police said he did not seem to be targeting any member of Congress, according to the Associated Press.
The case is reminiscent of an April 2021 incident when Noah Green, a 25-year-old black nationalist, killed Capitol Police officer William Evans after he deliberately rammed his car into a barricade outside the Capitol.
The FBI and DOJ’s joint intelligence bulletin comes at a time of increasing political tension ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The FBI’s unprecedented and unnecessary raid on the Biden administration’s political opponent Donald Trump only adds to those tensions.
This is one reason why prominent conservatives and Republicans are now calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s and FBI Director Christopher Wray’s impeachment should the GOP manage to retake Congressional control following the midterm elections.
"*" indicates required fields
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.