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Johnson: The Treatment of Whistleblowers is “Disgusting”

Thursday’s Weaponization Committee highlighted the FBI’s ongoing retaliation against protected whistleblowers and featured shameful witness intimidation from Committee Democrats

WASHINGTON — Today’s Weaponization Committee hearing highlighted brave FBI whistleblowers who have exposed abuses within the Bureau and faced undue retaliation in response. During the hearing, Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04) used his allotted time to question FBI Special Agent Garrett O’Boyle, who, despite exhausting every legal avenue within the Bureau, was stripped of his security clearance and suspended for blowing the whistle on FBI abuses.

Mr. O’Boyle told the Committee that due to the FBI’s retaliation, he has had to rely on charity to feed his family. The FBI continues to block Mr. O’Boyle from receiving other employment. Johnson noted that the only body capable of investigating these matters is the FBI itself.

“I just want everybody to understand. The FBI investigated itself. This is why we're here, folks. This Committee – we have jurisdiction over the DOJ and the FBI – we are the checks and balances in this system,” Johnson said. “We have to draw attention to this, because it’s our oversight duty. We’re all trying to fulfill our responsibilities and our patriotic duties here.”

To watch the Congressman’s questioning click here or read below:

“The Democrats, our friends on the other side of the aisle, are trying their best to obscure the purpose of this hearing and to pretend like they don't understand the meaning of it. Here it is. Activists in the FBI and the Department of Justice have weaponized the full weight of their agencies against everyday Americans. It's alarming.

“The examples that have been highlighted by this committee are shocking to the sensibilities of all the people that we represent, and they want us to get action and answers and accountability.

“Here's a couple of examples: The FBI sought to label concerned parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists. We know that they sought to recruit spies and informants inside the congregations of traditional catholic churches. We know that they worked with the social media platforms hand in hand, almost as partners over the last two election cycles to censor and silence conservatives online that they disagreed with. Sometimes they were candidates.

“And now the people at this table, who are patriots, who this bothered their consciences, who knew that this was against their oaths of service and their duty, spoke up and they're being retaliated against.

(Question to Mr. O’Boyle):

“Mr. O'Boyle, I wanted to just discuss one of these examples. In your transcribed interview with committee members, you stated that federal law enforcement involvement at school board meetings would, in your words, absolutely chill parents from exercising their First Amendment rights. Can you explain a little bit more about what you meant by that?


“Yes. So one of the examples given in the congressional letter included an example where a neighbor or somehow someone knew a parent that they believed was extreme. And so they called the FBI and reported that parent to the FBI. When citizens in this country get to a point where they can call the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world on their neighbor just because they disagree with them, that is chilling to the First Amendment rights of the people who are getting the FBI called on them.

“That is absolutely right. The parents who are concerned about their kids’ education have a right to come to this school board meeting and express those sentiments. And they should not have fear of the federal government investigating them or doing, as you testified and explained to us, that the FBI, counterterrorism and criminal divisions came together to create a unique threat tag to label these parents domestic terrorists.

(Question to Mr. O’Boyle):

“Mr. O’Boyle, is it accurate to say that you tried to fix all these issues within the FBI through the chain of command and that it was only after no action was taken that then you came forward to Congress to disclose this information?


“It's accurate that we did discuss it at the squad level, but the FBI has set up in a way where line agents like me or line supervisors even, they're not going to be able to accomplish fixing such a vast problem from the inside of the FBI.

“And what you've done is exactly what federal law requires of you. We recognize, as we said here a moment ago, we recognize and protect whistleblowers for their patriotic duty. Why? Because it's essential to maintain the rule of law and to make sure that corruption does not fester throughout the government.

(Question to Mr. O’Boyle):

“And isn't it true that once the FBI found out you spoke to Congress that your security clearance was then suspended?


“Yes, I believe that's what happened.

(Question to Mr. O’Boyle):

“And what effect has this had on your ability to provide for your young family?


“I've since had to rely on charity because the FBI stopped paying me. And there's no other way for me to make a living. I know from other whistleblowers that the FBI routinely denies them the ability to get outside employment. And then as a special agent, you can only make $7,500 a year outside of your government salary. So, you're really stuck between a rock and a hard place, because on one hand, we want to try to get our jobs back because we are trying to do our patriotic duty. But on the other hand, we still have families to take care for. It's essentially a death sentence in the modern era.

“Yeah, talk about a chilling effect, right? Not only have they chilled the rights of parents to go and express their views, any other whistleblower better take note, right? They better take note. You may not be able to feed your family. It's disgusting.

(Question to Mr. O’Boyle):

“Your security clearance was wrongfully suspended. You have no recourse. Because here's the thing. If you wrongfully strip clearances, the FBI is the one that you appeal to. Right? The FBI is supposed to investigate itself, is that right?


“That's correct.

“I just want everybody to understand. The FBI investigated itself. This is why we're here, folks. This Committee – we have jurisdiction over the DOJ and the FBI – we are the checks and balances in this system. We have to draw attention to this, because it’s our oversight duty. We’re all trying to fulfill our responsibilities and our patriotic duties here.

“I am grateful to you men for your willingness to stand forward and take the arrows as you have even from members of Congress over here who are trying to disparage you. It's disgusting. I thank you for your patriotic responsibility. Look, the free speech of parents is chilled the speech, and the duty of whistleblowers is chilled.

“We got a problem, folks, and we're trying to fix it.”