WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan's (R-OH) weaponization committee held a Thursday hearing with what he called FBI whistleblowers alleging the Bureau has become a political arm of the Justice Department's attacks on conservatives.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that the FBI whistleblowers may have had an axe to grind. The men lost their top security clearance due to their support for the Jan. 6 attackers. Losing the higher level clearance almost certainly meant that they were limited in the kinds of jobs they could do.
During the last hearing, it was uncovered that the "whistleblowers" were being paid by Republican donors. That was mentioned at Jordan's press conference on Thursday morning.
"They got a family! How are they supposed to feed their family?" Jordan asked.
The comment comes as Republicans are attempting to force work requirements on welfare recipients.
After Jordan's press conference, Raw Story followed the Republican through the tunnel to the hearing room, asking about the FBI changing protocol for investigating all Jan. 6 protesters. Instead, the FBI looked at each one individually. Jordan's claim is that this was all to justify President Joe Biden's message that domestic terrorism is becoming an increasing problem.
"It's an attitude I think from the time, I don't know," said Jordan. "I mean, maybe it has something to do with that crazy speech Joe Biden gave last year where he's standing in front of Independence Hall and calls half of the country fascists."
The FBI investigations began under former President Donald Trump, who still had a little less than a month in office. None of the FBI leadership changed from Trump's administration to Biden's. The FBI director is still a Trump appointee. Biden's speech Jordan links to the breach in protocol was made two years after the investigation began.
Raw Story told Jordan that what happened on Jan. 6 was unprecedented, which is why the Justice Department says that their approach to investigations and charges have been unprecedented as well.
"I think people who did wrong should be prosecuted," Jordan conceded. "Based on what the whistleblowers told us they're treating it differently than other situations and criminal activity. And that's why you heard the clip of Mr. O'Boyle's testimony in the press conference."
Jordan was asked if he believes there's a problem with domestic extremism in the United States, and he replied, "To the extent we do, we should prosecute it. But what these guys are telling us is they are making it seem as if every case — cataloging and categorizing cases to inflate those numbers. That's what the whistleblowers have told us."
Thus far, the DOJ and FBI are treating individuals differently because some of the attendees were "caught up in the moment" while others were militia members who planned to create the moment. Rather than treating all Jan. 6 people the same under all one event, the DOJ appears to recognize that not all who entered the Capitol were there as a result of a premeditated plot to hang Vice President Mike Pence if he didn't stop the 2020 election certification.
Jordan argues that considering each individual attack increases the raw numbers of what the FBI calls domestic terrorists. Lumping more than 1,000 people into a block of domestic terrorists would increase that number even more.
Also at issue is that there are no specific domestic terrorism laws in the United States, a point that former FBI counter-terrorism chief Frank Figliuzzi frequently mentions when speaking.
The FBI defines domestic terrorism as: "Violent criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, radical or environmental nature."
By that definition, not all 1,000 people at the Capitol could legally be considered domestic terrorists. Even those who committed no acts of violence, or lower-level violent acts, like pushing the barriers into a line of Capitol Police, or pushing an officer, are not being charged as severely as those who used weapons to attack the officers.
Gracyn Dawn Courtright, for example, carried off a "Members Only" sign, but there was no evidence she violently attacked anyone with it. She pleaded guilty and was given a month in prison. Thomas Webster, a former New York police officer and Marine Corps veteran, swung a metal flagpole at police and tackled another officer. A jury found him guilty of assault and he was given 10 years in prison.
The FBI was criticized after Jan. 6 for mishandling the event in a way that would have prepared for possible violence. Figliuzzi said a year after the 2021 attack that the Bureau could have opened a "threat assessment" or declared Jan. 6 "National Security Special Event." Special events are done for everything from the Super Bowl to other major events or gatherings that could be a soft target for terrorism.
With additional reporting by Matt Laslo