GRASSLEY: The Continuing Justice Department and FBI Failure to Respond to Congressional Oversight

***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

Mr./Madame President,

On November 25, 2022, the Justice Department and FBI purported to respond to six of my oversight letters in a single letter. Whenever I see one letter that aims to answer six, I know the government’s letter will most likely be hogwash at best.

The FBI’s November 25 letter doesn’t even meet the hogwash standard.

My May 31, 2022, letter was about then-Assistant Special Agent in Charge Thibault’s political bias.  The FBI’s letter failed to provide any requested records.

The July 18, 2022, letter was about Thibault and then-Election Crimes Branch Chief Richard Pilger being involved in opening a criminal investigation into former President Trump. That letter was based on whistleblower allegations about the defective opening of the investigation. The FBI’s letter failed to address the concerns raised in my letter.

The July 25, 2022, letter was about Thibault and others at the FBI shutting down investigative avenues into Hunter Biden separate from the ongoing U.S Attorney Weiss investigation. That letter also noted that the investigative avenues were based on verified and verifiable information.  That, too, was based on whistleblower allegations. The FBI failed to provide any requested records.

The August 17, 2022, letter built off the July 25 letter and requested an organizational chart for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  It also posed a series of questions about the Hunter Biden investigation, including:

How can the Hunter Biden criminal investigation be full and complete if the FBI improperly shut down verified and verifiable information and sourcing relating to potential criminal activity?

No answer from the FBI.

The FBI did produce to me an organizational document for their Washington Field Office.  However, it’s a failed production because it wasn’t what I asked for.

For example, out of the entire Washington Field Office, the FBI only included six names in the document. There’s dozens of subunits and squads within the Washington Field Office.  And they only provided six names and even redacted some information.

Congress and the American people have every right to know how taxpayer dollars are used to support the Washington Field Office.

The September 26, 2022, letter related to the FBI’s retaliation against whistleblower Stephen Friend. Mr. Friend raised concerns to his superiors about breaches of FBI policy and procedure in domestic terrorism assessments and investigations.  As part of their retaliation, the FBI placed Mr. Friend on Absent Without Leave status, took away Mr. Friend’s badge, gun and suspended his clearance. The FBI’s letter didn’t even mention Mr. Friend by name, yet purported to respond to my and Senator Johnson’s letter about him.

The October 13, 2022, letter – and this is the sixth letter – related to the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. My letter noted that allegations from whistleblowers indicated that the information provided by Tony Bobulinski to the FBI about Hunter Biden formed a sufficient basis to open a full field investigation on pay-to-play grounds.  However, it’s unclear if the FBI did so.

The letter also noted that records within the FBI’s possession and reviewed by my investigative staff indicate that Joe Biden was aware of Hunter Biden’s business arrangements and may have been involved in some. The FBI failed to produce any requested records.

The FBI is zero for six.

Now, there are a couple elements to the FBI’s response letter I’d like to highlight.  And I call it the FBI’s response because the Justice Department proper failed to send their own.

The letter said, in part, when an employee or employees miss the mark or make a mistake, it’s critically important that we learn from those instances. This means not only holding people accountable, but also taking a close look at the larger organization so that we can make necessary changes to policies and training to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated.

I provided six letters to the Justice Department and FBI relating to their mistakes.  The letters provided concrete facts, evidence and highly credible whistleblower allegations. Not a single admission of wrongdoing or some mistake was mentioned in the FBI letter.

How can the FBI learn from its mistakes if it refuses to even admit and acknowledge them?

Importantly, with respect to all the whistleblower allegations that I’ve made public – neither the Justice Department nor the FBI have disputed their accuracy.  That ought to tell you something.

To the whistleblowers who have approached my office: you are patriots.

Now, there’s one more part of the FBI letter I’d like to highlight.

On the third page of this non-responsive letter, the FBI says this about whistleblowers, Employees should feel they can raise their concerns about wrongdoing and if those concerns aren’t addressed within their chain of command take them to an appropriate place without retaliation.

The FBI failed to mention Congress.  And the FBI failed to make clear that employees can immediately go to Congress to disclose wrongdoing.

That legal right to blow the whistle should’ve been made explicitly clear in this letter.

Director Wray personally assured me that whistleblowers approaching my office with allegations won’t face retaliation.

Simply put, the Justice Department and FBI need to get over themselves.

Show some respect to Congress and the American people. Answer the questions, admit to the mistakes, show us the corrective actions and let’s move on together to fix our institutions for future generations of Americans.

The letters I wrote provide a roadmap for the FBI to root out political infection within their ranks and field offices.  They highlight existential problems deep within the FBI.

Based on the response letter, the FBI has done nothing to root it out.

The Justice Department’s and FBI’s continued failure to do so will lead them on a long, slow and painful walk to losing more credibility and trust with the American people – a result that’s entirely avoidable.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here