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Monday, May 20, 2024

Whistleblower Purge? FBI Suspended Security Clearances for 106 Employees

'For these 106 employees, the average time between suspension and a decision to revoke or reinstate the clearance, or for the employee’s separation during suspension, was 527 days...

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Last June, an anonymous whistleblower disclosed that the FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate threatened any agent who disagreed with how the bureau was conducting its investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill uprising.

According to the whistleblower, Abbate conveyed his threat to all FBI personnel in a video teleconference during February 2021—when he “told the audience that anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to January 6th did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job.”

Since Abbate’s threat, multiple FBI whistleblowers, including Garrett O’Boyle and Marcus Allen, have had their security clearances indefinitely suspended—leaving them and their families destitute. On Tuesday, the Justice Department’s Inspector General issued a report showing that O’Boyle and Allen aren’t alone.

According to the DOJ-IG report, in the last 5 years, 106 employees have had their clearances suspended for 6 months or longer. Some of these employees presumably had their clearances suspended for legitimate reasons, but multiple FBI agents have claimed political retaliation.

“For these 106 employees, the average time between suspension and a decision to revoke or reinstate the clearance, or for the employee’s separation during suspension, was 527 days, which is about 17.5 months,” the DOJ-IG found.

The report specifically referenced the case of Allen, showing how his indefinite suspension left him in limbo.

“In that case, [Allen] was suspended without pay for approximately 15 months before the FBI issued a decision revoking his security clearance and it then took another 4 months for the FBI to provide the employee with the information that the FBI used to support its revocation decision,” the DOJ-IG said.

“The employee has been suspended without pay for more than 2 years.”

The DOJ’s practice of indefinitely suspending security clearances is illegal, according to legal pundits, as well as the inspector general. The DOJ is required to have an appeal process for employees to contest a suspended security clearance as retaliatory, but it does not.

“This lack of a DOJ appeal process for employees who allege their suspension of more than 1 year is retaliatory,” the DOJ-IG said.

In response to the DOJ-IG’s findings, “the FBI stated it would add relevant language to the appropriate policy guides and directives to conform those guides and directives to [legal] requirements,” the report said.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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