FBI whistleblower alleges bureau improperly suspended security clearance for agents with 'conservative views'

An FBI whistleblower is alleging that the bureau improperly suspended security clearance for agents with “conservative views.” 

Fox News obtained a complaint sent last week to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and DOJ Inspector General from a whistleblower – a supervisor and a registered Democrat – alleging that the “FBI’s Security Division improperly suspended or revoked employees’ security clearances whose political views, medical views, or even ethnicity were questioned by Security Division leadership.” The whistleblower’s representation, Tristan Leavitt, the president of right-leaning public integrity group Empower Oversight, also notified the House and Senate Judiciary Committees of the complaint.

“The outcomes of clearance investigations and adjudications were often pre-determined by the Division’s acting Deputy Assistant Director and the acting Section Chief responsible for security clearance investigations and adjudications, who often overruled line staff and even dictated the wording of documents in the clearance process,” the complaint stated.

“Over the last few years, the FBI has used the clearance process as a means to force employees out of the FBI by inflicting severe financial distress: suspending their clearance, suspending them from duty without pay, requiring them to obtain permission to take any other job while stuck in this unpaid limbo, and delaying their final clearance adjudication indefinitely – even years,” Leavitt wrote. 

“As I have written before, the FBI is not a private club for FBI executives to make in their own image,” Leavitt said in the letters to Congress.


He requested that the committees “work swiftly to independently corroborate the information in the attached disclosure with other witnesses, publicly document your findings, hold Director Wray and any responsible FBI officials accountable, and pass legislation to fix the abusive security clearance process and successfully protect future whistleblowers.”

A new FBI whistleblower accuses the bureau of suspending security clearance for agents with “conservative views” in violation of federal statute. (iStock)

Another letter addressed to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz and counsel Jeffrey Ragsdale requests an investigation into whether the FBI improperly transferred Empower Oversight’s client, later suspended him indefinitely without pay, and suspended his security clearance “in reprisal for protected whistleblower disclosures,” in violation with federal statute and presidential policy directive 19. 

The supervisory special agent’s security clearance was suspended “because he disclosed the improper suspension and revocation of other employees’ security clearances,” the letters say. 

“In light of SecD’s [FBI’s Security Division’s] pattern of abuse of the security clearance process and retaliation against SecD employees who try to stop that abuse, I also request that the OIG conduct a full review of the FBI’s security clearance process, how it has been abused — particularly by Dena Perkins and Jeffrey Veltri – and the role of FBI leadership in allowing these abuses to multiply,” Leavitt wrote.

“SSA Client participated in many discussions in which it became clear that Veltri’s and Perkins’s perspective was that if an FBI employee fit a certain profile as a political conservative, they were viewed as security concerns and unworthy to work at the FBI,” the complaint says. “Despite issues like support for former President Trump or vaccine hesitancy being a common theme in discussions regarding suitability for classified information, those issues were almost never mentioned in the written clearance suspension and revocation notices SecD issued to FBI employees.” 


“Sadly, from my perspective as a former FBI special agent, these ‘bombshell’ allegations coming out regarding the purging of conservative employees at the FBI aren’t bombshells at all,” former FBI special agent Nicole Parker told Fox News Digital. “For many, this became the standard way of life and culture of the FBI. I didn’t like it and neither do thousands of others-both current and former FBI employees. I walked away from the career I once loved as special agent. Myself and countless other FBI agents and support staff felt that if you disagreed with certain matters and you voiced your concerns, then you’d have a target on your back.” 

“Thus, only a tiny percentage of those who feel the same way ever speak up,” Parker, a Fox News contributor, said. “From my perspective, the FBI became politically weaponized starting at the top with executive management in Washington, DC and trickled down to the various field offices. The political weaponization wasn’t just directed towards those the FBI investigated externally, but also how they treated employees internally.”

FBI seal

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen outside its headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15, 2022. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)


The complaint cites how FBI Staff Operations Specialist Marcus Allen questioned whether FBI Director Chris Wray “had testified falsely to Congress and indicated he would not follow the FBI’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements.” Though Security Division staff found this was not sufficient basis to suspend security clearance, division leadership “suspended SOS Allen’s clearance anyway, claiming these issues indicated he was not loyal to the United States – even though SOS Allen had served honorably as a U.S. Marine in Iraq,” the letter says. 

Wray testifies before Congress

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Leavitt states that Security Division leadership “later rushed to revoke SOS Allen’s and Special Agent Steve Friend’s clearances in advance of their May 18, 2023, testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government,” and those revocations were “apparently the basis for the FBI sharing details about their cases – some of which have since proven false – in a letter to Congress that was swiftly leaked to the press.” Empower Oversight assisted Allen in filing a retaliation complaint with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and having his security clearance reinstated on May 31, 2024. 

Allen was suspended without pay for over two years before those proceedings were resolved, the complaint says. 

The new whistleblower “disclosed to Security Division leadership that the revocation of SOS Allen’s clearance violated regulations – and also suffered retaliation for that disclosure,” and is “also aware that at least two other Security Division employees also suffered reprisal at the hands of Division leadership because they disclosed the impropriety of suspending or failing to reinstate SOS Allen’s clearance,” Leavitt wrote.

Despite Congress attempting to shine light on the Security Division “abuse” in the past two years, the complaint argues “the same officials at the heart of much of this inappropriate behavior are either still leading the Division or rewarded with senior leadership positions within the FBI,” and “while in keeping with Deputy Director Paul Abbate’s February 2021 threat that anyone who disagreed with his management decisions ‘did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job,’ it raises major questions as to why Director Wray has enabled this abuse by not holding officials accountable.” 


Fox News Digital reached out to the FBI for comment Wednesday.

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