An FBI whistleblower has accused bureau officials of cooking the books to conceal the number of man-hours devoted to the Jan. 6 investigation and inflate time spent on other cases.
According to the anonymous whistleblower, the subterfuge is intended to bolster the bureau’s budget requests to Congress when House Republicans control the purse strings next year.
According to a whistleblower disclosure submitted to Congress, a top official in the FBI’s counterterrorism unit at the Washington headquarters pressured the bureau’s field offices to stop agents from clocking hours when they are working on investigations related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The supervisors in the field offices were told the agents should instead claim they were working on international terrorism and other investigations when recording hours in the FBI’s time and attendance system, known as WebTA.
The Washington Times has reviewed a draft of the whistleblower disclosure.
The FBI told The Times that the allegations were inaccurate but did not elaborate.
The new allegations add to a flood of FBI whistleblower disclosures to Congress in recent months about widespread misconduct, mismanagement and politicized investigations at the bureau. As The Times has reported, the more than a dozen whistleblower disclosures will fuel congressional inquiries regarding the FBI and Department of Justice when Republicans take over the House in January.
The FBI has poured resources into investigations of crimes stemming from the pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Nearly two years later, at least 964 people have been charged.
One of the most high-profile cases resulted in the conviction last month of Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, and his top lieutenant, Kelly Meggs, on rarely used charges of seditious conspiracy.
Federal prosecutors have charged 50 others with conspiracy, including Enrique Tarrio, a former leader of the Proud Boys militia, who has pleaded not guilty.
The FBI’s Jan. 6 dragnet also extends to former President Donald Trump and the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The anonymous disclosure about disguising agents’ work hours was supported by Stephen Friend, another whistleblower who has been suspended from his FBI job. He said that monkeying with WebTA is rampant at the bureau.
“Well, they’ve made such a big deal about [Jan. 6] stuff that they had everybody working it, and now they’ve gone over the number of hours they had budgeted for domestic terrorism cases, and they’ve come in well under the other cases on like international terrorism,” he said. “Now they’re worried that they’re going to go for appropriations and the Republican Congress is going to say, ‘You guys shouldn’t have funding for international terrorism. There’s clearly not a need. You guys didn’t even devote any time to it.’”
According to Mr. Friend, bureau brass would say to him and other agents, regardless of what they were working on, that “this is happening all the time, not just with J6. They would come to me and say, ‘Hey, Steve, we need you to put this on your timesheet that you’re working this.’”
• Kerry Picket can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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