Press Release
March 15, 2023

UPDATE (March 15, 2023): Assistant Inspector General Sean O’Neill from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG – pdf) responded to Empower Oversight’s letter, confirming in writing that his office is indeed “interested in interviewing Mr. Friend about his allegations, which remain under assessment[.]” The letter corrects widely circulated false claims that the DOJ-OIG has “rejected” Friend’s allegations and indicates that an interview of him will be scheduled shortly.

WASHINGTON — Empower Oversight transmitted a letter from President Tristan Leavitt to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ OIG – pdf) seeking confirmation that former FBI Special Agent Steve Friend’s concerns have not been “rejected” by his office, contrary to mischaracterizations in widely trumpeted congressional leaks attacking several whistleblowers.

“Our understanding has been, and remains, that it is your office’s intent to interview Friend in order to obtain a more complete understanding of his allegations…The abuse of the security clearance process to retaliate and force him out of his job is also a broader concern, of which Friend’s case is only one prominent example,” Leavitt wrote.

“Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary provided a ‘staff report’ to The New York Times containing…numerous mischaracterizations written by Democrat staff, including claims about meaning of the December 2, 2022 form letter from your office and the current status of Friend’s case there. In short, the Democrats claimed that your office had rejected his concerns. Thus, I write to confirm our understanding that their claim is false and that your office still intends to interview Friend,” Leavitt continued.

“It is our understanding that several media outlets uncritically repeated the Democrat staff report’s mischaracterizations without bothering to ask your office. We know for certain that other outlets asked your office for comment and clarification to confirm our understanding of the current status of Friend’s case, but received no response. This suggests a disturbing situation in which your office’s silence is allowing its reputation for neutrality and objectivity to be hijacked by partisans and their media allies to leave a false impression with the public—all in the service of undermining a whistleblower for political purposes,” Leavitt concluded.

If you have first-hand information you’d like to disclose to assist Empower Oversight with these inquiries, please contact us confidentially here.