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FBI Memo Exposes Political Bias in Security Clearance Reviews Targeting Trump Supporters, Vaccine Hesitancy, and 2nd Amendment Advocates

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Newly obtained FBI memos reveal that agency officials conducting a top-secret security clearance review for a longtime employee asked witnesses whether that employee was known to support former President Donald Trump, if he had expressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, or had attended a Second Amendment rally. These revelations have prompted a complaint to the Justice Department’s internal watchdog alleging political bias inside the bureau.

According to documents obtained by Just the News, the employee’s security clearance was revoked months after interviews confirmed his support for Trump, gun rights, and his concerns about the COVID vaccine. The memos show that in spring 2022, agents for the FBI’s Security Division asked at least three witnesses whether the employee, whose name and job title were redacted from the memos, had been known to “vocalize support for President Trump” or “vocalize objections to Covid-19 vaccination.” One witness confirmed that the employee had declined to get the coronavirus inoculation.

The latter questions about the vaccine were asked shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down vaccine mandates in corporate workplaces and a separate federal court had issued an injunction on federal employee vaccine mandates.

Agents also inquired whether the FBI worker had attended the Richmond Lobby Day event in January 2021, a rally for Second Amendment supporters in Virginia. The agents’ notes referred to the colleague they were vetting as a “gun nut” but noted no promotion of violence.

You can read the memos here:

FBI officials declined to comment on why a worker’s support for Trump, the Second Amendment, or his hesitancy to get the COVID-19 vaccine had relevance to his security clearance. They also did not answer whether similar questions about support for Joe Biden or other medical issues, such as support for abortion, were asked.

In a letter to the DOJ inspector general, the FBI employee’s lawyer, Tristan Leavitt, revealed his client made protected whistleblower disclosures to both Congress and the DOJ about the politicization of the security clearance process. Leavitt alleged his client was subjected to this process simply because he self-reported taking a vacation day to go to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6, 2021 rally.

Leavitt, who runs the nonprofit Empower Oversight center specializing in whistleblower cases, said his client did not engage in any criminal acts nor did he enter the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He called the security review process evidence of political bias against conservatives inside the bureau.

“Instead of limiting its investigation to legitimate issues, SecD (Security Division) acted as if support for President Trump, objecting to COVID-19 vaccinations, or lawfully attending a protest was the equivalent of being a member of Al Qaeda or the Chinese Communist Party,” Leavitt wrote to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, asking for an investigation.

“The FBI’s intentions are made clear by the questions it chose to put in black and white on a government document,” added Leavitt, whose group has represented IRS whistleblowers in the Hunter Biden case and several FBI agents and analysts who claim their security clearances were suspended or revoked because of their political views.

One of those FBI employees, intelligence analyst Marcus Allen, was vindicated last week when the bureau restored his clearance and paid him more than two years of back pay, according to CNN.

Leavitt told Horowitz he believed the documents detailing the security clearance review for his client were “shocking” evidence of an “abuse of authority and a violation of our client’s rights under the First Amendment.”

Horowitz’s office, which has documented years of FBI abuses ranging from mishandling informants to abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment on whether it has opened a probe.

You can read that letter here:

If the inspector general opens an inquiry, it could help the public and Congress determine whether the FBI’s questions about Trump were more widespread than the employee who went to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, or whether other questions about political preferences and medical treatments are asked during traditional security clearance reviews.

Two sources told Just the News that there is evidence information was gathered during FBI security clearance reviews on other employees’ political views, suggesting the practice was not isolated.

The memos provided unprecedented detail into how the security clearance review for Leavitt’s client was conducted. Prepared questions were typed into a form for the agents to ask, while witnesses’ answers were recorded by agents in handwriting below.

The handwritten observations offer significant insights into what the agents believed were relevant to the recommendation of whether the FBI employee should keep his clearance.

The employee “had right-wing views, nothing extreme,” an agent wrote from one interview that asked about his Trump support. In another notation, agents wrote the employee was “def Trump supporter, strong republican values.”

In a third interview, the agent noted the worker’s support for Trump, writing: “Very significantly supported, would listen to talk shows. Trump did not lose. Dems stole it. Militant point of view. Never implied would do anything aggressive/physical.”

On vaccine hesitancy, agents confirmed from one witness that the employee had not been vaccinated but was following bureau rules for unvaccinated employees.

“Very against masks and vaccines. Not vaccinated,” the agent wrote from one interview. “Not vaccinated and tried not to wear mask.”

The agent noted the employee was “connected to anti-vaccinated FBI groups” but had engaged in “no anti-FBI rhetoric.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former head of the government’s COVID response, recently told Congress he did not believe he saw any studies showing masks were effective in stopping the spread of the virus before mask mandates were imposed, and that the science since remains murky.

“I believe that there are a lot of conflicting studies too, that there are those that say, yes, there is an impact, and there are those that say there’s not. I still think that’s up in the air,” he told Congress.

Fauci also told the New York Times last year he believed in the final analysis that vaccine mandates were ineffective or counterproductive for Americans.

“I think, almost paradoxically, you had people who were on the fence about getting vaccinated thinking, why are they forcing me to do this?” Fauci said. “And that sometimes-beautiful independent streak in our country becomes counterproductive.”

By the time the FBI was asking about the worker’s vaccine views in April 2022, the U.S Supreme Court had already struck down vaccine mandates in the corporate workplace three months earlier, and the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas had issued an injunction against a federal employee vaccine mandate.

The Biden administration appealed the latter case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and granting review, the Supreme Court ruled that the judgment was to be vacated, and the case remanded with instructions to direct the District Court to vacate as moot its order granting a preliminary injunction.

On the employee’s Second Amendment views, FBI agents used terse language to describe the witnesses’ answers. “Gun nut, went to all 2nd Amendment gatherings,” the agent wrote in a summary of one interview. “…No promotion of violence.”

Leavitt wrote to the IG that he believed the FBI’s conduct in his client’s security clearance review violated the Constitution and Supreme Court cases involving employment law and the First Amendment.

“The Supreme Court held that terminating public employees for political patronage purposes—belonging to the wrong political party—‘to the extent it compels or restrains belief and association is inimical to the process which undergirds our system of government and is at war with the deeper traditions of democracy embodied in the First Amendment,’” he wrote.

Leavitt added: “Revoking a security clearance for being near those who did or merely sharing some similar political views as others who acted unlawfully is pure guilt by association.”

Government Accountability

Arizona Republicans Call for Additional Investigation into ‘Pay to Play’ Allegations Against Governor Katie Hobbs

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More Republican state officials are calling on Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to investigate the “pay to play” allegations involving the Hobbs administration and Sunshine Residential Homes.

The allegations center around the claim that Sunshine Residential Homes received better daily pay rates per child after donating approximately $400,000 to Hobbs’ campaign, inaugural fund, and the state Democratic Party. These accusations were brought to light in an Arizona Republic story.

Current Investigations and Responses

Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, has already initiated an investigation following a letter from Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope. Mitchell, a Republican, has indicated she may also launch an investigation after the Auditor General’s office reached out to her.

“As the Treasurer of Arizona, I am responsible for overseeing, safekeeping, and managing the State of Arizona’s securities and investments, which are duties I take seriously. Arizona taxpayers need financial accountability and deserve to know how their money is being spent,” stated Treasurer Kimberly Yee, a Republican.

“Providing state dollars to political donors is a grave misuse of public funds. ‘Pay to play’ and special favors have no place in state government,” Yee added.

Concerns Over Ethical Conflicts

Yee criticized Mayes for asserting control over the investigation, suggesting potential conflicts of interest. “I have requested a separate investigation to be conducted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has separate jurisdiction in this matter, and the current investigation by the Attorney General’s Office raises concerns of potential ethical conflicts of interest in representing state agencies and officials involved in the alleged scheme,” Yee said.

In response, Attorney General Mayes emphasized the state’s role in handling such allegations. “As with any other investigation our office conducts, we will follow the facts wherever they lead us. As with everything else we do, we are also fully cognizant of our ethical obligations and have taken appropriate measures to protect the interests of all concerned, including directing the Department of Child Services to obtain outside counsel in this matter,” Mayes wrote.

Mayes also pointed out that Yee’s concerns do not fall within her statutory duties as defined by state law.

Calls for Recusal

Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, called for Mayes to recuse herself from the investigation, citing a potential conflict of interest due to previous funding she received from the Arizona Democratic Party and her handling of a prior complaint related to Governor Hobbs.

“Your conflict of interest and mishandling of my complaint warrants your recusal from investigating the pay-to-play scandal because it likewise stems from Governor Hobbs’ unprecedented inaugural fundraising and political donations to the ADP. You have already proven that you will shield both the Democrat Governor and your own party from any liability,” Livingston wrote.

Coordination of Investigations

The Center Square reported that Mayes is asking Mitchell to avoid conducting a parallel investigation to streamline the process. During a media availability on Tuesday, Hobbs refused to comment on the allegations or whether she would comply with both investigations if they proceed.

The Attorney General’s office has stated it will not respond to Livingston’s letter.

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Government Accountability

Speaker Mike Johnson Received a $95,000 Payment From Lobby Group Shortly After Passage of $14.5B Military Aid Package Late Last Year

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Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, has come under scrutiny following revelations that he received significant campaign contributions from a foreign lobby group, particularly known for its pro-foreign policy stance. According to analysis conducted by The Intercept based on Federal Election Commission records, this lobby group donated approximately $95,000 to Johnson’s campaign in November of last year.

The timing of these donations is notable, as they coincided with Johnson’s pivotal role in advancing a high-value aid package through Congress. Johnson’s efforts to expedite this funding drew attention from critics, especially given the significant financial support he received from the lobby group.

In addition to the substantial contribution from the lobby group, Johnson’s campaign also received a substantial amount of money from another political action committee (PAC) in the same year. The majority of these payments occurred after Johnson assumed the position of House Speaker and amidst heightened tensions surrounding a specific issue.

Stephen Walt, a professor of international relations, emphasized the influential role that lobby groups play in shaping U.S. foreign policy, particularly concerning certain regions. He noted concerns about the undue influence of money in politics, citing instances where specific groups targeted lawmakers critical of its policies through attack ads and financial support for opponents.

SOURCE: FEC REPORT

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Government Accountability

Pentagon overspent $400 million in Ukraine aid, audit reveals

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The U.S. Navy has overspent hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine due to recurring accounting errors, according to a Pentagon watchdog’s report, which warned the service branch may not have the funds to cover the shortfall next time.

The report released on Tuesday by the US Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated that “the Navy overexecuted its funding three times during fiscal year 2022” when it came to Ukraine supplemental assistance.

Report below:

While the US Navy appropriated around $1.7 billion in funds to Ukraine, the watchdog found that the branch “overexecuted its allotment of Ukraine assistance funds… totaling $398.9 million.” The overspending was due to the Navy’s failure to address long-standing problems with its automated accounting system.

As a result, accounting errors had to be corrected manually on several occasions, leading the OIG to stress that “the Navy did not have adequate internal controls to prevent over-execution of funds from reoccurring.” It added that the military branch also focused on identifying errors after they had already taken place, rather than preventing them.

The OIG warned that while the Navy had resources to cover the difference, “such funds may not be available in the future.”

While the US has become one of Ukraine’s most prominent donors, with Washington allocating around $113 billion to the embattled nation since the start of the conflict, major concerns have arisen about misuse of the funds.

An OIG report in January found that the Pentagon did not properly track $1 billion worth of weapons and other military equipment. This came amid the White House’s long-standing assurances that there was no evidence that weapons had been stolen, despite Ukraine’s reputation for rampant corruption.

Moreover, the Pentagon watchdog announced last month that it had opened more than 50 cases into possible “theft, fraud or corruption, and diversion” of military aid to Ukraine. One of the cases highlighted by Robert Storch, the OIG head, involved items arriving in Poland before disappearing from a shipping manifest once they were sent across the border into Ukraine.

Russia has consistently denounced the arms shipments and repeatedly warned of weapons spillover, alleging that the equipment finds its way onto the black market and into the hands of organized crime and terrorists.

SOURCE: IG REPORT

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