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Rep. Jordan subpoenas FBI in wake of scandal

By Sarah May
|
April 25, 2023

As part of a House Republican probe into the alleged weaponization of the federal government in recent years, and particularly against members of the Trump administration, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (OH-04) has issued a subpoena to a top human resources official at the FBI, as the Daily Wire reports.

The demand for testimony was sent to Jennifer Leigh Moore, who serves as the executive assistant director of human resources at the agency, and it follows what Jordan says was her refusal to answer certain questions during a recent transcribed interview with committee staff regarding whistleblower claims about alleged abuses within the FBI.

Ongoing Compliance Battle

As the outlet explained, it was not immediately clear when Moore's transcribed interview occurred, though according to January letter sent by Jordan, she had been in an ongoing dispute with the panel over participation in such a conversation about what committee Republicans said were allegations of a FBI “purge” of conservative employees through adverse actions, many of which she signed.

“We have made multiple requests that you appear for a transcribed interview before the Committee concerning serious allegations of abuse and misconduct within the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the letter began.

Jordan continued, “You have been on notice about our request for your testimony – and aware that this request is outstanding – for months...[t]o date, you have not complied with our request that you appear for a transcribed interview before the Committee.”

“This obstruction must stop,” Jordan added, and while it appears that Moore did sit for the requested interview, her responses to some of the questions posed were apparently unsatisfactory in the eyes of committee Republicans.

Politicization Alleged

The back-and-forth between Judiciary Republicans and Moore began last year when the former released a report detailing claims of politicization at both the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Those allegations were said to have come from “a multitude of whistleblowers” outlining the manner in which conservative employees were subjected to negative employment actions such as security clearance revocations and the like.

The report stated of the suspected political housecleaning, “This perception is buttressed by previous, documented examples of political bias ingrained in the FBI's leadership culture – for example, when a senior FBI official wrote derisively to a colleague that he 'could SMELL the Trump support' at a Walmart in southern Virginia, or when an FBI attorney altered evidence in support of the FBI's warrantless surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.”

In response, the report went on, the agency “has responded to these concerns with a hollow assertion that 'FBI personnel must maintain objectivity and rigor in their work,'” and noted that “[w]hile the FBI may well be holding line agents to this standard, FBI leadership and supervisors are actively purging those who dare to hold a differing opinion.”

FBI's Response

In a statement concerning Jordan's subpoena, the FBI said, “Executive Assistant Director Moore voluntarily answered questions from members and their staffs about the FBI's security clearance adjudication process for several hours,” as The Hill reported,

“She did not discuss the details of specific individuals whose cases are still under review to protect the integrity of the process and the privacy of the individuals,” the statement went on.

The agency added, “The FBI recognizes the importance of congressional oversight and remains fully committed to cooperating with Congress' oversight requests consistent with its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”

A statement from Jordan spokesperson Russell Dye, however, suggested that Moore did not provide satisfactory or informative responses to questions about “the FBI's retaliation against brave whistleblowers who have come forward to raise concerns about abuses they have seen at the Bureau.”

Democrat Denials

Jordan's subpoena for Moore follows on the heels of a report from panel Democrats assailing the whistleblower claims made by their Republican colleagues, who they say overstated the number and severity of potential abuses, as The Hill noted.

Democrats further contended that the FBI witnesses cited by the Republicans did not qualify for whistleblower protections and had little in the way of evidence to support their allegations.

Taking issue, for instance, with the asserted whistleblower status of field office agent Garret O'Boyle, whom Republicans argued was a victim of wrongful suspension of his security clearance, Democrats claimed he did not provide supporting documentation for his claim, said that he never escalated his concerns through the proper internal channels, and otherwise attempted to cast doubt on his story.

Now that Jordan has taken the added step of issuing a formal subpoena, however, Moore may find it much more difficult to avoid questions from lawmakers who appear determined to establish the sorts of abuse and political bias they believe still run rampant in far too many federal agencies.