FBI threat tag created after Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling 'shifted' to focus on pro-lifers
( Fox )
The FBI created a threat tag following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, but it later "shifted" to focus on pro-life individuals, an agent-turned-whistleblower told the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle, from the Wichita Resident Agency in the Kansas City Field Office, also said the FBI made him divide one domestic terrorism case into "four different cases," in what he described as an effort by the bureau to be able to show Congress an influx of domestic terrorism cases.
Fox News exclusively reviewed portions of a transcript of O’Boyle’s Feb. 10 interview with the panel.
As for the pro-life assignment, O’Boyle said the FBI created the threat tag "THREATSTOSCOTUS2022" after the high court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion to the states.
After the ruling, O’Boyle said he felt the use of the threat tag was "legitimate" because "threatening a Supreme Court official is a violation of federal crime." The FBI has used such tags to monitor similar cases on a large scope.
But, O’Boyle said this threat tag "shifted and began focusing in on pro-life adherence."
"When this threat tag came out, it was like, why are you focusing on pro-life people?" O’Boyle told the panel, according to a transcript reviewed exclusively by Fox News Digital. "It’s pro-choice people who are the ones protesting or otherwise threatening violence in front of Supreme Court justices’ houses."
O’Boyle said the FBI wanted agents to "look into" what the bureau called "pregnancy centers."
"Like, the antithesis to abortion clinics. Whatever those are called," O’Boyle said.
O’Boyle said he was confused to why agents would need to "talk to these people about threats."
"If somebody is going to be getting threatened, it would be them, because people thought that abortion was suddenly outlawed, which, that wasn’t the case either, it was just remanded back to the states," O’Boyle said, adding that the assignment "struck me as odd at the time."
O’Boyle said he later was given a "request for collection," and was instructed to ask his confidential human source, who he said was pro-life, "a bunch of questions about the threats to the Supreme Court."
"And even when I got that, I was like, why would this person know about those threats? He’s pro-life," O’Boyle continued. "Like, he’s not the one going and threatening the Supreme Court justices."
When asked if he felt the FBI was using and creating threat tags in a politicized way, O’Boyle said: "I do."
Meanwhile, with regard to the domestic terrorism cases, O’Boyle said the division of one case into multiple separate cases gave the FBI the opportunity to go to Congress and say "look at all the domestic terrorism we’ve investigated."
"Where, really, I was working on one case," he said. "But, the FBI can then say, well, he actually had four, and so we need you to give us more money because look at how big of a threat all this domestic terrorism is."
O’Boyle claimed the FBI retaliated against him for making protected disclosures to Congress.
When O’Boyle was suspended, he claimed the FBI prevented him from retrieving his personal belongings that were in storage with a company contracted by the FBI in Virginia. O’Boyle estimated that he spent approximately $10,000 to retrieve his personal belongings from the FBI storage.
O’Boyle told the panel he felt the FBI "was being weaponized against agents or anybody who wanted to step forward and talk about malfeasance inside the agency prior to this."
The FBI told Fox News Digital that the bureau's "focus has been and remains on violence and threats of violence."
"And we will vigorously pursue investigations of any threat or use of violence committed by someone who uses extremist views to justify their actions, regardless of motivation or what side of an issue that person is on," the FBI responded in a statement. "We do not conduct investigations based on a person’s political or social views."
The FBI said it had "no comment on particular threat tags," but wished "to remind the public what they are used for."
"A tag is merely a statistical tool to track information for review and reporting," the FBI went on. "The creation of a threat tag in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats."
The FBI said it had "used tags to track everything from drug trafficking to human trafficking."
"Any assertion that the FBI manipulates statistics on domestic terrorism cases is categorically false," the FBI continued. "The FBI’s authority to investigate a case as domestic terrorism requires the existence of a potential federal criminal violation and the unlawful use or threat of force or violence to further political or social objectives."
The FBI added: "We follow the facts of each case and will never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity."
The FBI also said it "has not and will not retaliate against individuals who make protected whistleblower disclosures."
The whistleblower interview came amid investigations led by the subcommittee into alleged misuse of domestic violent extremism resources for "political purposes."
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the panel's chairman, wrote a letter to the FBI last month after a leaked internal memo revealed the FBI had efforts underway to identify and treat some Catholics as violent extremists.
Jordan said the panel has been investigating "startling allegations that the FBI is misusing DVE resources for apparent political purposes."