The whistleblower said Abbate’s threat ‘was chilling and personal, communicating clearly that there would be consequences for anyone that questioned his direction.’
/ June 27, 2023
Agents who questioned the FBI's investigative response to the Jan. 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol were threatened with losing their jobs, according to whistleblower testimony.
The unnamed FBI whistleblower states in an affidavit that was delivered to Congress that Deputy Director Paul Abbate made the threats during a secured video teleconference with the special agents in charge of the bureau’s 56 field offices, The Washington Times reported
on June 25. Abbate told the supervisors that some agents were questioning the massive investigative response to J6.
“Abbate told the audience that anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to Jan. 6 did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job — or something to that effect,” according to the affidavit.
In a letter accompanying the affidavit, the whistleblower’s lawyer, Tristan Leavitt, states: “Abbate had heard that some employees were contrasting the FBI’s response to Jan. 6 with its failure to protect federal personnel and property, or to aggressively investigate interstate conspiracies and resulting damage, during the civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.”
The FBI responded to the allegations in the affidavit by defending Abbate: “Throughout his 27-plus year career, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate has strongly supported the people and the work of the FBI, treating employees with dignity, compassion, and respect,” the FBI said in a statement to The Washington Times.
“Employees are free to take any concerns they have to FBI leaders, including the Deputy Director. Any suggestion Deputy Abbate threatened employees who disagreed about the handling of January 6 cases is categorically false.”
According to the affidavit, Abbate said that if an FBI agent did not agree with management’s view of the response, the agent should call him personally, and he would set them straight.
“I have witnessed hundreds of Director SVTCs and have never seen a direct threat like that any other time. It was chilling and personal, communicating clearly that there would be consequences for anyone that questioned his direction,” the whistleblower said.
Leavitt said in his letter accompanying the affidavit that “Abbate’s threat to employees was witnessed by numerous other FBI employees and constitutes evidence of intent to retaliate against any dissent. … This evidence can be independently corroborated by dozens, if not hundreds, of other FBI employees.”
Free Press International
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