‘Weaponized’: Select Subcommittee Hearing to Hold FBI, DOJ Accountable
The new Republican majority may have taken a few days to elect a speaker, but it has wasted no time in launching hearings on Capitol Hill. Following Wednesday’s hearing on Oversight and Accountability that addressed speech suppression by Big Tech, the House Judiciary Committee held a select subcommittee hearing on Thursday that consisted of two panels to discuss the weaponization of the federal government. This hearing focused specifically on the “politicization of the FBI and Department of Justice” as well as “attacks on American civil liberties.”
After announcing the committee members in late January, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) assured that the House Judiciary Republicans were prepared to investigate “the weaponization of the federal government against the American people.” With Republicans back in control of the House, this examination served to fulfill Jordan’s promise in November to Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Republicans plan to conduct “oversight of the Department of Justice’s operations and actions.”
Subcommittee member Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) joined President Tony Perkins of Family Research Council on “Washington Watch” following the hearing. Hageman spoke to the importance of the hearing, “We have to get to the bottom of what has been going on with our federal government.” Hageman then noted that conservatives have been a target for a long time and alluded to “what the IRS did with the Tea Party.” Hageman said the behavior dates to Obama’s presidency when Lois Lerner was the head of an IRS division. According to Hageman, the IRS was “weaponized in order to make it so that our various Tea Party groups could not get the tax-exempt status that they needed to be able to operate. That was only the beginning.”
In September of 2022, in response to the memo Attorney General Garland issued to all Department of Justice staff, Representative Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said, “There’s just a swirl of controversy that continues to sort of go on and on around the Department of Justice and FBI.” Whistleblowers came forward to testify at the hearing on Thursday.
Grassley, who served on Panel I, began his testimony by stating he had “never seen so much effort from the FBI, partisan media, and some of my Democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries.” He claimed it was “a triad of disinformation and outright falsehoods.” Grassley’s testimony included information regarding Crossfire Hurricane as well as recent “efforts against my and Senator Johnson’s ongoing Biden family investigation” which started in August of 2019.
Not only were members of Congress present at the hearing, but former FBI agents Nicole Parker and Thomas Baker testified as well. Parker testified to her personal experience in the FBI and admitted that it had become “politically weaponized.” “Over the course of my 12-plus years of service, the FBI’s trajectory transformed,” Parker passionately stated at the hearing. “On paper, the Bureau’s mission remained the same, but its priorities and governing principles shifted dramatically.”
According to Perkins, “The committee’s already having an effect.” Last month, a memo came out from the Richmond Field Office targeting radical, traditionalist Catholic ideology. This memo was based on “information from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a discredited leftist organization,” said Perkins. “Within 30 minutes of the start of the subcommittee hearing, they released a statement retracting that memo. So I think the committee is already holding government accountable.”
Hageman agreed that the committee was holding government accountable, but also commented that “retracting that letter does not mean that we should not get to the bottom of why it was written in the first place, because that is a culture and mentality that we need to ferret out and find out where it’s coming from.” Hageman believes that as the hearings continue, “We will be uncovering incredibly important information to make sure that our government is held accountable.”
Hageman encouraged Americans who have experienced “ways in which the government is working against the citizens” to contact her office or other members who are a part of the subcommittee.