Cleveland newspaper forced to retract opinion piece with false claims about FBI whistleblowers

Those same whistleblowers had testified to Congress about weaponization in the bureau.

Published: June 19, 2024 2:52pm

Updated: June 19, 2024 3:50pm

A Cleveland digital newspaper was forced to retract a guest column on Tuesday after it was published with significant factual errors about FBI whistleblowers who made protected disclosures to Congress, including claims they engaged in unlawful conduct. 

The error-riddled paragraphs were tucked away at the end of an opinion piece critical of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, whose Weaponization Committee received testimony from the whistleblowers about their experiences in the bureau. Although the original article was deleted, an archived version can be found here.

The article was removed from the newspaper’s website,, after it was published by The Plain Dealer on June 9. The author, New York-based political consultant and attorney Neil Baron had written about whistleblowers Marcus Allen and Garret O’Boyle, both of whom brought concerns to Congress about FBI practices and its handling of sensitive political issues, like the January 6 riots.

“Smearing #whistleblowers with lies just because you don’t like the truths they tell is wrong,” the group representing the two whistleblowers posted to X. “No matter who does it. It needs to stop.” Jason Foster, the founder of the group, Empower Oversight, said in a post to X that the he contacted the editor and informed him of the “libels” published in his paper.

In its retraction Tuesday, the news website apologized to the whistleblowers and FBI supervisor George Hill, who was also mentioned in the piece, for “errors.”

“Allen was not a participant in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington D.C. and has never been accused of assaulting Capitol Police officers during the insurrection. O’Boyle did not claim the insurrection was set up by Democrats or post video of himself at the Capitol wearing body armor, a gas mask and an AR-15 rifle,” the staff wrote, explaining the incorrect information published in the now-deleted Op-Ed.

Baron specifically claimed that Allen “assaulted several Capitol Police on Jan. 6,” but cited no evidence. Baron also wrote that O’Boyle “said Jan. 6 was a ‘set up' by Democrats and the FBI” and "posted a video of himself at the Capitol sporting body armor, a gas mask and an AR-15 rifle.” Again, Baron cited no evidence for his claims.

It is unclear whether the opinion article was fact-checked by editorial staff before publication. The editors of did not respond to a request for comment from Just the News at the time of publication.

Baron could not be reached for comment. 

Both Allen and O'Boyle were suspended from the FBI for raising concerns about the bureau's practices.

Recently, Marcus Allen’s security clearance was restored after which he came to a settlement agreement with the FBI. The bureau agreed to provide 27 months of back pay and benefits that it withheld during the retaliatory suspension.

There has been no movement in O’Boyle’s case. He was suspended after he made protected disclosures to Congress about “weaponization” in the FBI, specifically its targeting of pro-life Americans after the Supreme Court overturned Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, returning the ability to regulate abortion to the states.

[Correction: Marcus Allen's settlement agreement with the FBI came after the bureau restored his security clearance instead of before.]

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News