Democrats called into question the credibility of Republican witnesses during a contentious congressional hearing Thursday aimed at examining allegations of wrongdoing within the FBI.
Weaponization of the Federal Government Select Subcommittee Democrats repeatedly claimed that the three current and former FBI employees appearing for testimony were not in fact whistleblowers.
“These individuals have been determined not to be whistleblowers,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said. “These are not whistleblowers,” she added, noting how some of their allegations had been reviewed and rejected by certain agencies, including the FBI itself.
“The law has not determined they are whistleblowers,” ranking member Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-V.I.) added.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) called the hearing “a partisan political stunt that is more interested in attacking the FBI than helping whistleblowers.”
“In Texas we would just say that this is just a lot of hot air blowing here and it ain’t a whistleblower,” Garcia said.
Garret O’Boyle, Steve Friend, and Marcus Allen, all of whom had their security clearances revoked or suspended by the FBI, testified that they had witnessed anti-conservative bias at the bureau, brought it to the attention of their supervisors and later Congress, and were retaliated against because of it.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a longtime oversight hawk who authored the most recent successful whistleblower legislation in 2012, tore into the Democrats for doubting the witnesses’ whistleblower status.
“They’re missing the point. Each of these whistleblowers came forward with what is clearly protected disclosure,” Issa said.
He asked the fourth witness, Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt, whose nonprofit represents two of the whistleblowers, to lay out how revoking security clearances is “uniquely a form of retribution” against FBI whistleblowers.
Source: House Judiciary GOP / YouTube
In a statement to Breitbart News, the FBI insisted the bureau “has not and will not retaliate against individuals who make protected whistleblower disclosures.”
The bureau justified in a leaked letter Wednesday its reasons for revoking Allen’s and Friend’s clearances, which Republicans dispute.
While some Democrats did not openly reject the term “whistleblower,” Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), who served as Democrats’ star impeachment lawyer before joining Congress, challenged the fact that Democrats did not have access to one of the whistleblowers’ testimonies.
Allen had testified before the weaponization committee Republicans ahead of the hearing, telling the Republicans he would only speak with them in a behind-closed-doors interview on the condition that Democrats were not present.
Goldman cited clauses in committee rules that specified that all committee members are to have access to testimonies.
“Where is the whistleblower exception in the rules of Congress?” Goldman asked, before demanding that all material, including Allen’s testimony, be made available to the Democrats.
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) agreed with Goldman, saying, “I find it incredible that evidence that one side has garnered is not going to be shared with the other side. That is not how committees work.”
A committee spokesman said in a statement provided to Breitbart News that whistleblowers “are not comfortable speaking to Democrats because of their record of slandering” them.
“Democrats leaked the Committee’s first subpoenas. Democrats leaked and mischaracterized whistleblower testimony, forcing several news outlets to correct their stories,” the spokesman said. “Democrats issued a report attacking these whistleblowers and disparaging their character.”
The spokesman noted that Democrats, contrary to Goldman’s claim, are in fact able to access any of the whistleblowers’ transcripts.
The Democrats, including Sanchez, also attempted to dismiss the witnesses as January 6 sympathizers while glossing over that none of them had any known performance issues during their many years of FBI service prior to raising their recent allegations.
In one instance, a moment that would later become viral, Sanchez asked Allen if he used the Twitter account “@marcusa97050645,” to which Allen responded, “That is absolutely not my account.”
Continuing on with the line of questioning despite her apparent mistake, Sanchez asked if Allen agreed with a January 6 conspiracy theory shared by the account.
⁰Today, while questioning FBI whistleblower Marcus Allen, @RepLindaSanchez asked Mr. Allen if he agreed with a random tweet from an account under the name “Marcus Allen.”
The only problem? It wasn’t even his account. pic.twitter.com/nMyl4dIvvW
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) May 18, 2023
Allen replied, “No ma’am. That is not my account at all.”