House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has subpoenaed a high-ranking human resources official at the FBI to answer questions about alleged whistleblower retaliation at the Bureau.
“Today, Chairman Jordan issued a subpoena to Jennifer Leigh Moore, Executive Assistant Director of Human Resources at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after she refused to answer questions during her transcribed interview about the FBI’s retaliation against brave whistleblowers who have come forward to raise concerns about abuses they have seen at the Bureau,” said Jordan spokesman Russell Dye in a press release for the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Monday afternoon.
Moore was interviewed by the Committee on Monday, but refused to answer any of the Republicans’ questions about retaliation, Dye told American Greatness.
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) April 24, 2023
House Judiciary Committee Republicans initially called for Moore to make herself available for a transcribed interview on September 29, after receiving information that she had retaliated against at least one FBI whistleblower who had made a protected disclosure to Congress.
“We are investigating serious allegations of abuse and misconduct within the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During the course of this investigation, we have received protected whistleblower disclosures that the FBI is engaging in a ‘purge’ of employees with conservative views by revoking their security clearances and indefinitely suspending these employees,” Reps. Jordan of Ohio, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Mike Johnson (La.) wrote in a letter to Moore.
The FBI disputed the lawmakers’ accusations and claimed it does not punish its employees who exercise their First Amendment rights.
“The FBI does not target or take adverse action against employees for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political views; to allege otherwise is false and misleading. The FBI is required to follow established policies and procedures, to include a thorough investigation, when suspending or revoking a security clearance,” the bureau wrote in a statement to The Washington Times at the time.
“The FBI takes very seriously its responsibility to FBI employees who may make protected disclosures under the whistleblower regulations. FBI employees who report evidence of wrongdoing through a protected disclosure are protected from retaliation,” the Bureau stated.
The lawmakers reiterated their request for Moore to appear before the panel for a transcribed interview in December .
“On November 18, 2022, nearly two months since our initial request, the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs responded with a generic letter that did not substantively address the allegations or alleviate our concerns,” the lawmakers wrote in the Dec. 1 letter. “Our request that you appear for a transcribed interview remains outstanding. Your testimony is necessary for our oversight, and you can be assured that the Committee will continue to pursue this matter into the 118th Congress, including by compulsory process if necessary.”
On January 27, the Republicans tried one more time.
“The Committee is prepared to resort to compulsory process, if necessary, to obtain your testimony,” the lawmakers wrote. “Please contact Committee staff immediately to schedule your interview. If you are represented by private counsel, please ask your attorney to promptly contact Committee staff on your behalf.”
According to a disclosure sent to Congress in September, “the FBI retaliated against a special agent after FBI investigators asked the agent whether he leaked information to the media related to the bureau‘s alleged misconduct in the Project Veritas investigation,” the Washington Times reported.
The agent, the disclosure stated, lost his security clearance and was indefinitely suspended by the bureau.
According to the agent’s attorney, the agent never contacted the media and only communicated with GOP lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee.
Along with meeting with them for a transcribed interview, the Republicans also demanded Ms. Moore preserve all records and documents in her possession related to the matter.
“Under Title 5 of the United States Code, once a whistleblower makes a protected disclosure, an agency is prohibited from retaliating against the employee for that disclosure by taking or failing to take a personnel action,” the lawmakers wrote in their September letter.
“We have advised Director [Christopher A.] Wray, as well as Attorney General Merrick Garland, that whistleblower disclosures to Congress are protected by law. Your efforts to interfere with FBI employees who seek to expose the Bureau’s misconduct by communicating directly with Congress cannot be condoned,” they warned.
In a statement Monday, the FBI pushed back on Jordan’s claim that Moore refused to answer questions, insisting that she “voluntarily answered questions from members and their staffs about the FBI’s security clearance adjudication process for several hours.” The Bureau added however that Moore was not at liberty to discuss “details of specific individuals whose cases are still under review.”
On Twitter, the House Judiciary GOP gave a one-word response to the FBI: “FALSE.”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) April 25, 2023