We covered some of the riveting testimony from FBI whistleblowers last month, revealing bias and the politicization of the FBI. This was on top of a long list of things that the whistleblowers have already revealed at that point.
Now, another whistleblower has come forward with some concerning news about how the FBI was dealing with the investigation into Jan. 6 compared to other riots. We’ve touched on this before, with a whistleblower saying it was handled differently.
According to an affidavit from that whistleblower that went to the House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, and the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, the FBI employee said that Deputy Director Paul Abbate threatened to fire agents and other bureau employees who questioned the differences in response to the U.S. Capitol riot in 2021 and the George Floyd riots in 2020.
In an affidavit delivered to Congress, the unnamed FBI worker said Mr. Abbate made the threats during a secured video teleconference with the special agents in charge of the bureau’s 56 field offices. Mr. Abbate told these supervisors that some agents were questioning the massive investigative response to pro-Trump demonstrators storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Abbate told the audience that anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to Jan. 6 did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job — or something to that effect,” according to the affidavit.
In a letter accompanying the affidavit, the whistleblower’s lawyer, Tristan Leavitt, explained: “Abbate had heard that some employees were contrasting the FBI’s response to Jan. 6 with its failure to protect federal personnel and property, or to aggressively investigate interstate conspiracies and resulting damage, during the civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.”
That seems like a pretty reasonable question when you look at the massive effort to go after the people on Jan. 6, even people that just walked into the building versus the effort regarding things like the attack on the federal courthouse in Portland for more than 100 days, for example, or the BLM riots near the White House when the Secret Service had to rush the president into a bunker and a church was set ablaze. Perhaps the situation most comparable was the Trump inaugural riots where more than 200 were arrested, but most of them got off and prosecutions were dropped. It’s not just the FBI employees raising that issue, it’s the American people.
The whistleblower said that Abbate claimed they were applying the appropriate resources in each matter the secure teleconference, known as a Director SVTC.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Abbate said that if an FBI agent did not agree with management’s view of the response, the agent should call him personally, and he would set them straight.
“I have witnessed hundreds of Director SVTCs and have never seen a direct threat like that any other time. It was chilling and personal, communicating clearly that there would be consequences for anyone that questioned his direction,” the whistleblower said.
Mr. Leavitt said in his letter to congressional lawmakers and Mr. Horowitz that “Abbate’s threat to employees was witnessed by numerous other FBI employees and constitutes evidence of intent to retaliate against any dissent. … This evidence can be independently corroborated by dozens, if not hundreds, of other FBI employees.”
The FBI issued a statement defending Abbate, saying that he’s always treated employees with “dignity, compassion, and respect.”
“Employees are free to take any concerns they have to FBI leaders, including the Deputy Director. Any suggestion Deputy Abbate threatened employees who disagreed about the handling of January 6 cases is categorically false,” they said in the statement.
But according to the whistleblower’s attorney people did lose their jobs.
On the numbers alone, the difference looks stark, according to this report.
For just the one riot on Jan. 6, 1,033 people were arrested, with about 485 convicted of crimes. About 277 were given jail time and about 113 were sentenced to a period of home confinement.
Meanwhile with 570 riots in 2020, with $2 billion in property damage and at least 25 deaths, there were more than 300 federal cases with 120 people convicted of federal crimes, including rioting, arson, and conspiracy. It should be noted that some of the riots may not have involved federal property, although they often did, so some of them may have been dealt with as state criminal matters.
But the report looks at Portland with the constant attack on the federal courthouse as well as on other federal facilities.
In Portland, Oregon, which suffered nightly riots for several weeks, the rioters received significant leniency. Federal officials regularly accepted deals that dropped charges as long as someone completed community service, according to a Washington Times review of court records.
The Portland violence in 2020 included protesters blinding officers with lasers, battering police with hammers, bats and bottles, and hurling Molotov cocktails at police and the federal courthouse.
One man who fired a gun at the courthouse on the evening of Jan. 8, 2021 — two days after the Capitol riots in Washington — escaped without a prison sentence and got five years’ probation.
We watched all this unroll as it was happening, and that was the big question while the riots were ongoing, how could they not figure out and lock up the same people who were involved in organizing the continual attack on the Portland courthouse day after day? That seemed to defy belief.
Add one more thing to Congress’ long list of things to investigate now. But the only way this all has a chance of being addressed is by winning the White House and the Congress and cleaning house.