Press Release
June 22, 2023

WASHINGTON — Empower Oversight submitted letters to the Department of Justice Inspector General (DOJ-OIG – pdf) and Congress (pdf) along with sworn statement by a supervisory Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employee who witnessed FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate threaten the jobs of any employees who criticized the Bureau’s response to January 6th whistleblowers.

While the affiant doesn’t know and isn’t associated with Empower Oversight’s other FBI clients, the affidavit is relevant to FBI whistleblower cases that are currently under inspector general review. According to one of the letters, Abbate told an audience of FBI leaders throughout the agency “that anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to January 6th did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job.” Additionally, Abbate told all special agents in charge “if they had an employee that did not agree, the SACs could have that employee call him personally and he would set them straight.”

“Abbate’s threat to employees was witnessed by numerous other FBI employees and constitutes evidence of intent to retaliate against any dissent. This evidence is relevant to countless administrative proceedings and inquiries related to whistleblower retaliation and security clearance determinations—not merely those involving our clients. This evidence can be independently corroborated by dozens, if not hundreds, of other FBI employees if congressional committees and the Justice Department Inspector General would investigate and document the results,” Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt wrote in the letter to Congress.

In the letter to the DOJ-OIG, Leavitt requested that the department “independently corroborate this information and consider it in all related work undertaken by your office,” as the whistleblower requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation for the protected disclosure made to the FBI.

The letter to Congress was addressed to several Congressmen and Senators, specifically those on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, along with the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. “The FBI is not a private club for FBI executives to make in their own image. It is an extremely important agency that is supposed to enforce the law without prejudice. Empower Oversight respectfully requests that you work swiftly to independently corroborate this information with other witnesses, publicly document your findings, and hold Deputy Director Abbate accountable,” Empower Oversight President Tristan Leavitt wrote to Congress.

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