Jim Jordan's Credibility Questioned Over Whistleblowers' Testimony

Ohio congressman Jim Jordan has been heavily criticized by Democrats after three FBI "whistleblowers" who testified in the Republican-led committee investigating the "weaponization" of the federal government were found to have supported numerous conspiracy theories and to have been paid by a close ally of Donald Trump.

According to a lengthy report written by Democrats and obtained by The New York Times, those who testified as part of the House select committee haven't offered any evidence of wrongdoing, have openly attacked the federal government, and may not even meet the proper definition of a whistleblower.

The credibility of the witnesses has raised questions about the validity of the Republican Party's key aim in the GOP-controlled Congress to investigate apparent partisan bias in the federal government under the Biden administration. A spokesperson for Jordan accused Democrats of having "cherry-picked" excerpts of testimonies to condemn the committee's work.

"Each endorses an alarming series of conspiracy theories related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Covid vaccine, and the validity of the 2020 election," the 316-page report said. "One has called repeatedly for the dismantling of the FBI. Another suggested that it would be better for Americans to die than to have any kind of domestic intelligence program."

jim jordan FBI whistleblowers
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) listens during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 2, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland. The congressman has been heavily criticized. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Others have also criticized Jordan and the committee's work itself following the claims about the key FBI witnesses.

Zac Petkanas, a Democratic communications strategist, tweeted: "Trump allies are paying off House GOP witnesses to concoct stories attacking the Biden Administration. Just destroys what credibility Jim Jordan had left."

California Democratic congressman Ted Lieu said: "What happens when Republicans use purported 'whistleblowers' that were paid? They make stuff up and say crazy things. The House Judiciary GOP should be ashamed for doing this."

David Corn, author and D.C. bureau chief for Mother Jones, added: "This would be comical, if it weren't a serious blend of rightwing disinformation, conspiracy theories, and abuse of power. All brought to you by coup-plotter Jim Jordan."

The report, written by New York rep. Jerrold Nadler and House Delegate Stacey Plaskett, focuses on three FBI witnesses who testified to the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which is chaired by Jordan.

The witnesses were: George Hill, a retired FBI supervisory intelligence analyst who world in the bureau's Boston field office; Stephen Friend, a former special agent who worked in the Daytona Beach office; and Garret O'Boyle, a special agent from the field office in Wichita, Kansas.

The report notes that Hill has shared several conspiracy theories and partisan views on the January 6 attack, including tweeting that the Capitol riot was a "set up and sadly, there's no shortage of idiots willing to take the bait."

In December 2022, Hill tweeted that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her staff "have blood on their hands" while sharing a conservative news site which suggests the insurrection was "preventable."

Hill also supported a right-wing conspiracy theory about Ray Epps, an Arizona man who was falsely accused of working for the FBI to encourage Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.

Democrats raised questions about Hill's relevance to the inquiry as he has made "multiple claims about the FBI's handling of criminal investigations into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, despite having very little personal involvement in those investigations."

Friend has also been found to have embraced the conspiracy theory about Epps, as well as frequently attacked the FBI itself, calling it a "garbage institution" that needs to be "completely eliminated and eradicated from the federal government."

Friend was placed on Absent Without Leave status for one day in August 2022 after he objected to the manner of arrests of January 6 suspects associated with the far-right extremist group, the Three Percenters.

His security clearance was suspended on September 19, 2022, and he officially resigned from the FBI on February 15, the same day he testified to the "weaponization" committee.

The report notes that O'Boyle had also compared coronavirus vaccine mandates to a Polish reserve police unit during World War II that began as a group of "just normal people," but were then "were basically engaging in genocide like the rest of the Nazi regime."

Elsewhere, Friend and O'Boyle testified that they received money from Kash Patel, who worked for the former Trump administration and was a staunch ally of the former president via Patel's non-profit organization, Fight with Kash. The company provides financial support for veterans and law enforcement officials.

Friend said that he received $5,000 from Patel's group. O'Boyle didn't share how much he received.

Friend also testified that Patel had helped him get a new job after leaving the FBI by putting him in touch with the Center for Renewing America, where Friend is now a fellow on domestic intelligence and security.

In a statement to The Hill, Rachel Semmel, communications director at Center for Renewing America, pushed back on the Democrats' report.

"The media is coordinating with the Left on the next phase of protecting weaponized government: discredit the brave ones who have come forward to blow the whistle on a security state that is weaponized against the American people, instead of protecting them," Semmel said.

"Steve Friend bravely blew the whistle on FBI overreach and is devoted to ending the abuses of federal law enforcement; we are proud to have him working with us at Center for Renewing America."

A spokesperson for Jordan dismissed the report and the Democrats for attempting to hinder the committee's work.

"It is beyond disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that Democrats would leak cherry-picked excerpts of testimony to attack the brave whistle-blowers who risked their careers to speak out on abuses at the Justice Department and FBI," Russell Dye told The Times.

"These same Democrats vowed to fight our oversight 'tooth and nail,' and they are willing to undermine the work of the Congress to achieve their partisan goals."

In a tweet sent February 28, before the release of the report, Jordan said: "Brave whistleblowers are helping expose the problems with the FBI and DOJ. Why don't Democrats support them?"

Jordan has been contacted for further comment.

Update 03/06/2023: This article has been updated with comment from Rachel Semmel, communications director at Center for Renewing America.