According to a report, an ex-FBI agent claimed he was coerced into signing a non-disclosure agreement which did not incorporate the legally mandated whistleblower exceptions permitting him to come forward to Congress.
Republican senators Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA) wrote to the Justice Department demanding answers.
Federal agencies cannot utilize public funds for confidentiality agreements without containing whistleblower exclusions since whistleblower rights have been embedded in federal regulation for over a decade.
After coming forward in the fall with allegations that the FBI had used extreme tactics and not followed its own rules in investigating the January 6 riot, former Special Agent Steve Friend supplied the senators with the NDA (nondisclosure agreement) Friend had been forced to sign, which did not include the required anti-gag provision.
The senators want to know how the FBI handled Friend and how often it got workers to sign nondisclosure agreements without including the proper anti-gag language.
The report shows the Senators also requested an investigation into the FBI’s alleged retribution against former Special Agent Friend by writing to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and informing him of further actions of apparent impropriety by the FBI.
Empower Oversight’s president, Tristan Leavitt, argued that the FBI isn’t above the law and that Congress should hold it responsible. Congress must not let agencies ignore its authority over funding. Whistleblowers should be safeguarded, not silenced and penalized.
According to the GrassleyWorks website, when it comes to protecting the rights of whistleblowers, no one in Congress has done more than Senator Grassley.
Senator Grassley has been the only lawmaker in either chamber to regularly and vigorously advocate for the protection of whistleblowers.
All key whistleblower legislation enacted in the previous forty years has his signature. Before President Richard Nixon dismissed Military Department officer Ernie Fitzgerald for testifying to Congress regarding billions of dollars in waste and fraud in military contracts, he showed bipartisan support by siding with Fitzgerald.