https://nypost.com/2022/05/06/fbi-pulls-clearances-of-employees-at-jan-6-rally-before-capitol-riot/

WASHINGTON — The FBI is quietly suspending the security clearances of employees who attended protests before last year’s Capitol riot, The Post has learned.

The decision is drawing pushback from Republicans who say the FBI staffers aren’t charged with crimes and are having their First Amendment rights trampled.

The FBI’s move was described in a Friday letter from the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

“One such targeted employee is [redacted] working in the FBI’s [redacted] who also honorably served in the United States military for over 20 years,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“[Redacted] has been working for the FBI for more than a decade. According to whistleblowers, while on leave, these FBI employees attended public events in Washington, D.C., with their spouses. We have been told that [redacted] and the other FBI employees 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.”

In a letter, Rep. Jim Jordan described the move by the FBI to strip some employees of their security clearances.
AP

It’s unclear how many FBI employees are impacted. However, Jordan’s letter says multiple FBI employees have been affected. He also claims the Justice Department inspector general “is now examining whether the FBI’s actions violate federal civil service laws.”

Jordan wrote that the yanking of security clearances would effectively terminate employees, even if they are not charged with criminal wrongdoing linked to the riot.

“Because a security clearance is required for FBI positions, the suspension of the security clearance means the FBI has suspended these employees from work indefinitely. Such a suspension is likely to be the first step in terminating employment,” Jordan wrote.

The role of federal agents and informants in the riot has stoked conspiracy theories and the new revelations that active FBI employees attended the protest portion of the day’s events follows charges last year against former FBI employee Thomas Caldwell, who worked at the bureau from 2009 to 2010. An FBI informant within the Proud Boys group reportedly texted his handler before the riot.

The Justice Department, which includes the FBI, has charged nearly 800 people with crimes for storming the Capitol to disrupt certification of President Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. The FBI is seeking tips on additional participants who entered the building or committed violent acts.

But Jordan wrote that the people the FBI is seeking to punish aren’t accused of crimes. Many people attended a large rally headlined by then-President Donald Trump near the White House ahead of the riot. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, recently acknowledged she attended.

“The totality of the FBI’s actions as relayed to us present the appearance that the FBI may be retaliating against these employees for disfavored political speech,” Jordan wrote.

“This perception is buttressed by documented examples of political bias ingrained [in] the FBI’s leadership culture — for example, when a senior FBI official wrote derisively to a colleague that he ‘could SMELL the Trump support’ at a Walmart in southern Virginia, or when an FBI attorney altered evidence in support of the FBI’s warrantless surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.”

Capitol Police hold protesters at gun-point near the House Chamber inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Capitol Police hold protesters at gunpoint near the House Chamber inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
AP

Jordan asked for a staff briefing on the matter by May 20.

The congressman noted that FBI employees face some limits on their political engagement, but he argued joining a protest alone doesn’t violate bureau rules.

“While FBI employees may not participate in partisan political campaigns, FBI employees do not give up their rights to engage in political speech activity,” Jordan wrote. “We have serious concerns that the FBI appears to be retaliating against employees for engaging in political speech disfavored by FBI leadership.”

The FBI did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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