Tale of two whistleblowers highlights reprisal risk as Congress probes weaponization issues
“It's unacceptable,” Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., says. “We need people inside the agencies to tell us, in many cases, the secrets of those agencies.”
Two different whistleblowers from two separate law enforcement agencies in two separate high-profile criminal cases are raising a disturbing new question for Congress: Is the Biden administration seeking to squash those who report wrongdoing or challenge its official narratives?
Just 24 hours apart, the plights of a decorated FBI intelligence analyst and a decorated supervisory IRS agent burst onto the national scene with detailed accounts alleging they have endured retaliation and reprisal for blowing the whistle.
The publicly unnamed IRS agent – once a star on the Swiss bank tax evasion cases that stunned the world – was unceremoniously dumped along with his entire team from the Hunter Biden tax probe just a few weeks after alleging there was Justice Department political interference in the high-profile matter, his lawyers reported to Congress.
The removal stunned lawmakers who just a week ago won assurance from the IRS chief there would be no reprisals. It also stripped the Hunter Biden prosecution team of a bench with deep knowledge gained by years of investigation into the president’s son.
FBI intelligence analyst Marcus Allen – a combat-tested Marine who just a few years ago was named the Charlotte, N.C. field office employee of the year – has had his security clearance and paychecks revoked after reporting he had found open-source intelligence calling into question the accuracy of Director Chris Wray’s testimony about the Jan. 6 probe, according to his complaint filed with the DOJ inspector general.
The FBI declined comment on Tuesday when asked about Allen’s complaint.
Both cases have lawmakers scratching their heads, concerned that if the whistleblowers allegations are corroborated that Congress has been deprived of opportunities to fix problems impacting American taxpayers.
"It's unacceptable," Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., a key member of the House Intelligence committee, told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast on Tuesday. “We need people inside the agencies to tell us, in many cases, the secrets of those agencies, if we're going to pass legislation that is going to correct some of the wrongs of the past.
"It's hard to govern when you don't know the truth because people inside the agencies aren't telling you the truth. I'm on the side of the whistleblowers. I mean, they're doing their patriotic duty to make sure that we have what we need to govern."
Tristan Leavitt, a former congressional investigator and current president of the Empower Oversight whistleblower center, represents both whistleblowers.
He told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show Tuesday night that the evidence of reprisal is disturbing and potentially enlightening to the unchecked power many federal agencies believe they wield.
"When you go out of your way to issue reports attacking whistleblowers, when you take personnel actions against them, those are going to deter others in our government from sharing things we need to know," he said.
Leavitt also noted that in the case of the IRS agent the government has now lost significant institutional knowledge from the Hunter Biden case, just as prosecutors reportedly decide to charge President Joe Biden’s son.
In the case of Allen, Leavitt said, the suspension of his client’s security clearance has deprived a once-celebrated intelligence analyst with a spotless record of a paycheck for about a year.
Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch watchdog group that also is assisting Allen, said the alleged reprisals are having a chilling effect on policing government behavior.
The whistleblowers working with Congress have created a "resistance in the FBI who want to enforce the rule of law and follow the rules,” he said. "But they’re the ones being punished.”
America will get to hear from one of the whistleblowers this week: Allen is slated to testify Thursday to the House Judiciary Committee panel investigating the weaponization of the federal government.
The IRS whistleblower is in the final stages of being interview by the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the FBI and tax laws, a potentially pivotal moment in the long-running Biden family business saga.
Leavitt and fellow lawyer Mark Lytle informed Congress on Monday that the Justice Department has removed the IRS whistleblower and his entire team from the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden’s taxes.
"Today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Supervisory Special Agent we represent was informed that he and his entire investigative team are being removed from the ongoing and sensitive investigation of the high-profile, controversial subject about which our client sought to make whistleblower disclosures to Congress,” they wrote in a letter to multiple House and Senate committees. "He was informed the change was at the request of the Department of Justice."
You can read the letter here:
The move stunned lawmakers in Congress, who had just taken action to accept the IRS agent as a whistleblower and were making plans to conduct a transcribed interview with him in the coming days – after the agent had received assurances from IRS chief Daniel Werfel that there would be no reprisals.
"This most recent communication concerning allegations of retaliatory actions against a whistleblower appears to contradict the sworn testimony by Commissioner Werfel who pledged that whistleblower protections would be upheld," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith told Just the News on Tuesday morning.
"Congress’s duty to hold government agencies accountable relies on the availability and willingness of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing," he also said. "Not only does retaliation like this discourage whistleblowers, it can also rise to the level of an illegal violation of statutory protections for whistleblowers. I call on Commissioner Werfel to abide by his pledge, quickly provide information to Congress in response to these allegations and ensure that no action is taken to discourage those who attempt to shine a light on government misconduct."
In Allen’s case, FBI leaders even questioned the intelligence analyst’s "allegiance to the United States" before suspending his security clearance, though Allen served two tours of duty during the Iraq war after the Sept. 11 attacks, Leavitt wrote.
"These circumstances strongly suggest Mr. Allen’s [FBI] leadership retaliated against him for disclosing his concerns about the veracity of Director Wray’s congressional testimony and suspended Mr. Allen’s security clearance as reprisal for that protected whistleblower disclosure to his supervisors,” Leavitt wrote in a letter sent to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on April 26 and obtained this week.
At issue is testimony Wray gave in March 2021 at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. When under questioning from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., he left the impression to some the FBI or law enforcement had not infiltrated certain groups like the Proud Boys that were blamed for the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
"They show up, we now know in this complaint, with encrypted two-way Chinese radios in military gear," Klobuchar said in questioning Wray. “There must be moments where you think, 'If we would have known, if we could have infiltrated this group or found out what they were doing' ... . Do you have those moments?”
“Absolutely," Wray answered. “I will tell you senator, and this is something I feel passionately about, that any time there is an attack, our standard at the FBI is we aim to bat a thousand, right? And we aim to thwart every attack that’s out there.
"So any time there’s an attack, especially one that’s this horrific, that strikes right at the heart of our system of government, right at the time the transfer of power is being discussed, you can be darn tooting that we are focused very, very hard on how can we get better sources, better information, better analysis so that we can make sure something like what happened on January 6 never happens again."
Months later, in his capacity as an intelligence analyst supporting the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Charlotte, Allen came across a New York Times article that alleged an FBI informant had infiltrated the Proud Boys and an analysis of that article by conservative journalist and Revolver News editor Darren Beattie.
When Allen noted there was public source intelligence calling into question Wray’s statement, the FBI leadership "changed their posture towards him dramatically," Leavitt disclosed in the whistleblower complaint sent to Congress and the Justice Department's inspector general.