- Sources tell The Daily Caller disgruntled FBI agents are too afraid of retaliation to speak out about the Bureau’s many troubles.
- The sources say agents don’t trust Congress to protect them from the consequences of testifying and claim whistleblower protection laws are ineffective.
- The FBI rarely punishes those who retaliate against whistleblowers, according to the agency itself.
Even as a new Rasmussen poll shows a majority of voters believe senior law enforcement officials broke the law to stop Donald Trump from beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, rank-and-file FBI agents who want to testify against their superiors to Congress feel they can’t due to an ineffective whistleblower protection law.
These agents believe the sluggishness of the law exposes them to an inordinate risk of reprisal, so they have remained in hiding and afraid to speak the truth.
This story is based on interview transcripts with two FBI agents that one former White House official provided The Daily Caller. A third special agent also reached out to The Daily Caller to provide information about the current state of the Bureau
The former White House official who maintained direct contact with at least two agents told TheDC they are “hunkering down because they see good people being thrown to the dogs for speaking out and speaking out does nothing to solve the problems.” He believes that “Congress and DOJ are so weak and clueless and can’t be trusted to follow through.”
According to transcripts he shared with TheDC, one special agent said, “It’s a question of basic credibility — Congress, the executive, and oversight are not seen to have any gravitas or seriousness. The inmates have been running the asylum and they don’t respect, much less fear, their overseers. We know we’ll be hung out to dry.”
The agent added, “And don’t get me wrong, there are still a few good people scattered about, but main Justice and the bureaucrats are running the show, want to run out the clock on this administration, and keep the status quo.”
Another special agent, when asked about being subpoenaed, said, “This is a great opportunity for senior or [soon to be retiring] guys, not for someone like me. It’d be suicide. I hate to say it, but neither the judiciary nor the executive branch is wielding any kind of effective oversight right now, and the top managers know it.”
He continued, “You still have a ton of bad people in place. Unless that changes, and I haven’t seen any degree of seriousness on the part of ranking members nor staffers, I’m not meeting with anyone nor willing to be subpoenaed. I’m not coming forward until they get their act together. Right now, it’d be sacrificing a career for cheap political points.”
TheDC has learned that the bureau has already warned agents that the agency will come back viciously against all those “behind destroying their narrative, and will go after their families and friends, too.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley defended the Whistleblower Protection Act he spearheaded after FBI agents insisted that only subpoenas would bring them forward to Congress. (RELATED: Grassley Defends Whistleblower Law, But FBI Agents Want Assurances That Legal Fees Are Covered If Dept. Retaliates)
“I’ve worked hard to strengthen legal protections, especially for FBI employees. You have a right to cooperate with Congressional inquiries, just as you have a right to cooperate with the Inspector General. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.”
Sen. Grassley’s law does an appropriate job at protecting whistleblowers from unfair prosecution, but it is not prosecution that prevents agents from stepping forward—it is the possibility of going bankrupt from attorneys’ fees when defending themselves against retaliatory legal actions by their agency.
For example, an FBI agent who came forward as a government whistleblower in 2013 told TheDC he experienced “personal humiliation, stress-related illnesses, and a huge financial loss, requiring my wife (who had undergone two cancer surgeries) to go to work so we could make ends meet.”
However, despite the whistleblower protection law, it seems the agency’s retaliation will likely not be investigated as the process is, as one agent put it to TheDC over email, “slow by design and at the end of the process they will never be held accountable.”
That agent went on to say, “Even with the enactment of the new law, what is the deterrent for retaliation against Whistleblowers? The FBI executives will just stall, ignore, and run out the clock until the victim runs out of money for legal fees or else retires.”
He added, “That is why the new Whistleblowers want to be subpoenaed. They simply don’t have the resources to fight the inevitable retaliation that will ensue, regardless of the new law.”
According to a December 1, 2015 letter from then-FBI Assistant Director Stephen Kelly, less than 2 percent of FBI retaliation claims result in punishment for the retaliators or a remedy for the victims.
“They leave you penniless, unemployed, and unemployable. Those who work those issues in the government who are aware of the score recognize the roadkill they will become if they come forward,” one former Department of Defense official told TheDC.