Whistleblower: FBI official ordered to clean anti-Trump social media posts earlier than large promotion

Top FBI officers ordered an agent to clean his Facebook web page to delete anti-Trump vitriol earlier than they’d promote him to move the bureau’s Miami area workplace, a whistleblower has informed Congress.

In a disclosure to the House Judiciary Committee, the whistleblower mentioned Jeffrey Veltri was promoted earlier this yr to change into the particular agent accountable for the Miami workplace.

The whistleblower referred to as him “adamantly and vocally anti-Trump,” and mentioned FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Deputy Director Paul Abbate and Executive Assistant Director Jennifer Moore have been concerned in directing Mr. Veltri to cleanse his social media.

“The home of President Donald Trump is located in the area of responsibility of the Miami Field Office. It was well known that Veltri was adamantly and vocally Anti-Trump,” mentioned the disclosure, which The Washington Times has obtained. “Wray, Abbate and Moore wanted to ensure that Veltri appeared non-political, Veltri was ordered to remove all of his Facebook and Social media posts that were Anti-Trump.”

The whistleblower mentioned the bureau leaders weren’t involved with Mr. Veltri’s “bias against Trump” however whether or not “information related to Vetri’s political bias can be removed from the public domain.”

The whistleblower mentioned Mr. Veltri, who served as performing deputy assistant director of the bureau’s Security Division till March, additionally oversaw efforts to droop brokers’ safety clearance in the event that they appeared like a “right-wing radical.”

The whistleblower’s allegations are critical and deserve additional investigation, mentioned Chris Swecker, a lawyer and legislation enforcement skilled who served as assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division throughout the George W. Bush administration.

“Let’s say half of that is true. If they wiped his social media clean, that’s something that needs to be looked at by the DOJ and the [Office of] Inspectors General,” he informed The Times. “It’s highly improper to wipe things clean that shows some kind of bias. I know they want it off, but then there could have been an inquiry about it, and It could have held up the promotion.”

The FBI rejected the whistleblower’s allegations and defended Mr. Veltri’s promotion as by the e book.

“Special Agent in Charge Veltri was selected through a competitive process to lead the Miami field office and is charged with carrying out the FBI mission in a fair and unbiased manner,” the bureau mentioned in an announcement to The Times. “The reported allegations about political bias impacting decisions, the targeting of former military employees, and SAC Veltri’s social media accounts and posts are demonstrably false.

Mr. Veltri has come under congressional scrutiny after whistleblowers from the FBI’s Security Division filed disclosures alleging that some people in the bureau are trying to drum out agents they deem “radical” or “disloyal” to the U.S. Suspect habits included refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccination, collaborating in non secular actions

Mr. Veltri and Security Division assistant part chief Dena Perkins have been fingered in one other whistleblower disclosure for making an attempt to sideline brokers — together with navy veterans — by stripping them of safety clearances, The Times reported beforehand.

The FBI, in its response to The Times for this story, denied these allegations as nicely.

“Repeated reporting on these outrageous allegations does not change the facts,” the bureau mentioned. “The FBI has not and will not retaliate against individuals who make protected whistleblower disclosures. We do not target or take adverse action against employees for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political views. The FBI has many employees who are military veterans and we thank them for their service.”

The FBI additionally mentioned it wished to say extra concerning the elimination of safety clearances from brokers, however the Privacy Act prohibits it from sharing details about particular inner issues. The FBI mentioned the onus was on the whistleblowers and the brokers concerned to waive Privacy Act protections.

“These waivers may provide the opportunity for the public to gain an understanding of the specific security concerns presented in those matters. The FBI looks forward to sharing additional details regarding these security clearance cases if and when we receive the required Privacy Act waivers,” the FBI mentioned.

The whistleblower’s identify was not included within the disclosure delivered by e mail to Congress on Nov. 9, however lawmakers have been suggested of the whistleblower’s identification.

Mr. Veltri joined the bureau in 2002 as a particular agent and labored his approach up by way of the ranks in several area places of work.

By 2016, he had been promoted to chief of the Civil Rights Unit within the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters.

There, he oversaw the administration of all hate crime, color-of-law, human trafficking, and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act investigations within the nation.

In 2021, he was appointed part chief of the Security Integrity and Investigations Section of the Security Division at FBI Headquarters. He additionally served because the division’s performing deputy assistant director for over a yr.

He oversaw inner safety investigations, bodily safety, the polygraph and chief safety officer packages, and the FBI Police program.

FBI leaders have confronted extreme criticism for his or her dealing with of Mr. Trump. An inspector common discovered the bureau’s investigation into claims of “collusion” with Russia, which dogged the previous president for a lot of his time period in workplace, was opened with out ample cause and was stricken by errors, together with falsifying data to justify pursuing the case.

More lately the bureau has confronted questions over its dealing with of the investigation into categorised paperwork Mr. Trump took with him when he left workplace after which saved at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence, which is inside the purview of the FBI’s Miami area workplace.

The FBI carried out a controversial search that recovered the paperwork.

Steven D’Antuono, the previous assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and a former senior FBI official concerned in planning the operation, informed Congress earlier this yr he had sturdy reservations about the best way it was dealt with.

In specific, he mentioned leaders in Washington determined to sideline the Miami brokers and use personnel from the FBI’s Washington area workplace as an alternative.

The Justice Department additionally ordered the FBI to go in heavy, Mr. D’Antuono mentioned, exhibiting up with a group of armed brokers when Mr. Trump and his lawyer have been absent.

Mr. D’Antuono mentioned he thought they need to as an alternative have labored with Mr. Trump’s lawyer to get the paperwork again by way of consent. He mentioned he thought there was “a good likelihood” the Trump group would have cooperated.

Former FBI agent Kurt Siuzdak, who now works as a lawyer and is representing the whistleblower, mentioned the FBI has an obligation to be honest.

“For whatever reason, unfortunately, the number one criminal subject right now for the FBI seems to be Donald Trump. So you would think they would go out of their way to make sure that everyone involved in the investigation is completely unbiased because they’ve already suffered the issues with bias several years ago regarding Trump,” he mentioned. “It would be a travesty if they’ve actually done the same thing again. The FBI was always designed to be completely apolitical.”