Two of the “dozens and dozens” of former FBI agents who have come forward to expose the bureau’s interference in the 2020 election testified as the House Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held its first hearing on February 9, 2023.
Other testimony examined allegations that the Department of Justice, the Director of National Intelligence and major social media corporations interfered with a US presidential election, a federal crime.
In calling on Twitter to censor speech, which the FBI could not do itself, the bureau “was engaging in a perversion – a perversion of the First Amendment”, said one former agent.
“The FBI became politically weaponized starting from the top in Washington and trickling down to the field offices”, former agent Nicole Parker, who was with the FBI for 12 years, told the subcommittee chaired by Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan.
“It’s as if there became two FBIs. Americans see this, and it is destroying the bureau’s credibility, and therefore the hardworking and highly ethical agents who still do the heavy lifting and pursue noble cases”, said Parker, who worked out of the FBI’s Miami field office and resigned from the bureau last year.
Former agent Thomas Baker, who was with the bureau for 33 years, said the public loss of faith in the agency “breaks [his] heart”. He said the shift in culture was “deliberate” and set in place by former FBI director Robert Mueller following September 11, 2001.
“The FBI director set out deliberately to change the culture of the FBI from a law enforcement agency to an intelligence driven agency”, Baker said.
Jordan opened the hearing with an overview of FBI whistleblowers, saying that “dozens and dozens” of individuals have come forward.
“In my time in Congress, I have never seen anything like this”, Jordan said.
“It’s not Jim Jordan saying this, not Republicans, not conservatives, good FBI agents who are willing to come forward and give us the truth”.
The range of whistleblower information, Jordan said includes a November 18, 2021 alert to House Judiciary Republicans that the FBI had created a threat tag for parents expressing concern at school board meetings, and a Nov. 4, 2022 revelation that the FBI accepts private user information from Facebook without user consent.
Jordan said at Thursday’s hearing that he expects many of the whistleblowers will sit for transcribed interviews or testify during future open hearings.
“Every day, I woke up and I embraced being an FBI special agent until things changed”, Parker during the hearing, adding that the bureau’s trajectory “transformed” and principles “shifted dramatically”.
“For most of FBI history, agents were trained as part of the FBI’s mission was to be a guarantor of the Bill of Rights. That has been turned on its head”.
During Thursday’s hearing, New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik questioned Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law Center, and Parker. Transcript from the Office of Elise Stefanik:
Congresswoman Stefanik: “Thank you, Ms. Parker for your extraordinary service and your courage for being here today. Mr. Turley, I want to start with you. The Twitter Files laid bare for the American people what you correctly call unconstitutional, ‘censorship by surrogate’. Matt Taibbi writes, ‘Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary.’ Do you agree with that assessment?”
Turley: “I do. What we know on the record so far shows a relationship that goes beyond this sort of informal exchange of ideas”.
Stefanik: “You’re correct. In fact, isn’t it true that leading up to the 2020 election, Twitter had weekly meetings with not just the FBI, with DOJ, with DHS, with DNI to conduct this unconstitutional censorship by surrogate. We know that because of the Twitter Files, correct?”
Stefanik: “And it was not just meetings, not just censorship of stories like the Hunter Biden laptop story. We also now know that the FBI paid Twitter over $3.4 million of taxpayer taxpayer funds to censor these stories before the 2020 election. Is that correct?”
Turley: “That money was paid, Twitter confirmed that”.
Stefanik: “The Twitter Files are just the tip of the iceberg because there’s so much more.” There was a corrupt revolving door at the highest levels between the FBI and Twitter. Look no further than Jim Baker, former General Counsel at the FBI, who helped unlawfully investigate Donald Trump in the 2016 election, or look at Jim Comey as Deputy Chief of Staff who became the Director of Strategy at Twitter. Isn’t it true, according to the Twitter Files, that there were so many FBI officials who then went to work at Twitter that they created their own Slack channel and crib sheet for onboarding? The Twitter Files confirmed that, correct?”
Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the Military-Industrial Complex. pic.twitter.com/8RRqOeVilo
— kanekoa.substack.com (@KanekoaTheGreat) February 11, 2023
Stefanik: “Are you aware, as the American people are aware that according to polling, of the people that were made aware of the Hunter Biden laptop story, 53 percent would have changed their vote, including 61 percent of Democrats. This is the definition of election meddling, and it’s the definition of election meddling by the FBI on behalf of Democrats paid for by the US taxpayers. It’s collusion. It’s corruption, and it’s unconstitutional. Ms. Parker, I want to go to you next about your experience at the FBI. Because this is not just about the Twitter Files, which folks are focused on because of the news it made, it’s about a systemic rot in the culture and the politicization of the leadership of the FBI, and it needs to be rooted out. Let’s take a step back. Let’s look at the targeting illegally of parents who wanted to stand up for their kids at school board meetings. On September 29, 2021, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to Joe Biden, equating parents at school board meetings to domestic terrorists. And on October 4th, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum to the FBI and US attorneys that the department would use federal enforcement tools to target and prosecute these parents. Do you consider parents as domestic terrorists?”
Parker: “I do not consider parents as domestic terrorists. No, I do not”.
Stefanik: “No, and neither do the American people. But there’s more to this story. It goes back further than that initial letter on September 29th. Because the letter didn’t happen organically—it was solicited, it was solicited by the White House and by the Secretary of Education. Essentially, the Biden Administration laid the predicate for which it used to justify illegally targeting the American people, targeting these parents. Is it proper protocol, as a former FBI officer, to set that predicate, to manufacture the reasoning to justify opening an investigation?”
Parker: “I believe that no one should be targeted for free speech and that violence should never be tolerated under any circumstance, but it should definitely not—no one should be targeted because they want to speak up at a school board meeting”.
Stefanik: “This was a setup, and it was the setup and it’s the real definition of weaponization of the government against the American people. And it’s not just this example of targeting parents [by the National] School Boards Association. It goes back to the opening of ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ it goes back to the faulty FISA application. It goes back to what we heard on that first panel from Senators Grassley and Johnson. It goes back to the suppression, illegally, of the Hunter Biden laptop story paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. This corruption needs to be rooted out. And it’s not just about protecting the US Constitution, it’s most importantly about protecting the American people from the weaponization of the federal government against them”.
View the February 9 hearing:
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