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FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate made “chilling and personal” threats against FBI agents contrasting the agency’s response to the riots and protests in the wake of Floyd’s death with the response to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, an affidavit states.
In the wake of the Capitol breach, the Department of Justice (DOJ) undertook the largest manhunt in department history, rounding up more than 1,000 people in connection to the event.
By contrast, in the riots following Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, only around 300 people across 29 states were charged with federal crimes.
However, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots during the summer of 2020 led to substantially more damage and casualties than the Capitol breach.
Estimates place the damage to U.S. buildings and infrastructure at more than $1 billion from the nationwide reaction to Floyd’s death, compared to around $1.5 million in damages to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Many police officers were injured during the BLM riots, as well as several reported deaths across the United States as a result of the violence. By contrast, only four people—all supporters of President Donald Trump—died directly due to the events of Jan. 6.
But FBI agents who raised these concerns faced “chilling and personal” threats from the deputy director of the agency, according to a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent reviewed by the Epoch Times.
“I am providing this sworn declaration to advise that the Deputy Director of the FBI, Paul Abbate, threatened employees who criticized the FBI’s response or tactics related to the investigation of the events of Jan. 6, 2021,” the unnamed whistleblower said in the report.
The agent reported that in Feb. 2021 Abbate, then newly appointed to his post, stated during a Secure Video Teleconference (SVTC) meeting with agents “that it had come to his attention that some employees questioned the FBI’s investigative response to the events on Jan. 6, 2021.
“He had heard that some employees were contrasting the response to Jan. 6 with the response to the post-George Floyd protests and riots in the summer of 2020.”
Abbate reportedly told the audience that “anyone who questions the FBl’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.”
Abbate told agents that the FBI responded to Jan. 6 in a manner consistent with its response to the summer 2020 riots, and “argued that the FBI was applying all appropriate resources in each situation.”
Additionally, Abbate said that Special Agents in Charge (SACs)—if they encountered an employee who disagreed—should have the employee call Abbate personally, where Abbate said he would “set them straight,” according to the affidavit.
“I have witnessed hundreds of director SVTCs and have never seen a direct threat like that any other time,” the agent reported. “It was chilling and personal, communicating clearly that there would be consequences for anyone that questioned his direction.”
The agent concluded the statement with an exhortation of the importance of law enforcement speaking out when they saw something that they disagreed with.
“As part of new agents’ training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, every agent used to go to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for a tour and a discussion of lessons learned from a law enforcement perspective,” the agent said.
“The message was this: when orders or policies are wrong, when we are told to do things that violate core values and principles, we must have the courage to ask difficult questions and raise objections. We should be able to do that without fear of being crushed.
“The deputy director’s threats sent the opposite message: Dissent will not be tolerated. If you question my response to Jan. 6. I don’t want you in my FBI.”
Alleged Retaliation Against Whistleblowers
The agent said that they felt obligated to report the comments they heard from Abbate “as evidence of improper retaliatory intent and a green light for FBI managers to engage in reprisal against Jan. 6 whistleblowers in violation of [U.S. Code].”
They encouraged oversight authorities to look into whether these alleged threats from Abbate were responsible for retaliation against Jan. 6 whistleblowers.
For instance, Marcus Allen, a staff operations specialist for the FBI, alleged to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government that he had his security clearance suspended and was suspended from the agency without pay in retaliation for holding what the agency called “conspiratorial views” on Jan. 6.
Allen served two tours in Iraq, and had held top secret security clearance—the highest level clearance possible—since 2001.
“So why am I here today?” Allen said in his testimony to the panel. “Despite my history of unblemished service to the United States, the FBI suspended my security clearance, accusing me of actually being disloyal to my country.
“This outrageous and insulting accusation is based on unsubstantiated accusations that I hold ‘conspiratorial views’ regarding the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and that I allegedly sympathize with criminal conduct.
“I do not. I was not in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, played no part in the events of Jan. 6, and I condemn all criminal activity that occurred.
“Instead, it appears that I was retaliated against because I forwarded information to my superiors and others that questioned the official narrative of the events of Jan. 6.”
Allen alleged that it took the FBI approximately four months, from January 2022 to May 2022, to even interview him about the allegations.
Another agent, Steven Friend, told the panel that he faced suspension as well after expressing opposition to agency policies in its response to Jan. 6.
The FBI Responds
In response to an Epoch Times media query about the allegations, the FBI press office defended Abbate.
However, the agency did not directly affirm or deny the charges against him when asked.
“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 spokesperson said.
The press office also said that the FBI had responded appropriately to riots during the summer of 2020.
“The FBI provides appropriate resources to all federal crimes and threats to national security,” the spokesperson said.
“We also assist our state and local law enforcement partners on these matters. Any suggestion we short-change certain types of investigations is not accurate.”