forward At the opening hearing of his new investigative committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, paced the floor of the hearing room, scanning every face in the room before checking in with his key witnesses and then, taking his throne, broke the gaddle down to order.
As chairman of the Select Subcommittee on Armaments of the Federal Government, Jordan has new powers to investigate the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the IRS, federal agencies he claims have united to attack all conservative causes and the former president equally. Along with subpoena powers, the committee will also serve as a new bully pulpit to bash the sitting president while conducting investigations into his family.
Jordan claimed at the launch of the new committee that it would follow in the footsteps of Sen. Frank Church, who, decades earlier, used his perch on the Senate Select Committee to study government operations with respect to intelligence operations to investigate illegal spying on US civilians. The culmination of a massive internal propaganda campaign by the National Security Agency and the CIA. Thursday’s hearing suggested that any attempt to fundamentally reform out-of-control law enforcement and surveillance agencies would come after attempts by both parties to use the committee for political purposes.
The bombastic representative took every opportunity to rail against the perceived unfairness of the “deep state” and former President Donald Trump’s favor. He has withstood repeated attacks on past scandals and continues to gather power in Congress even as his extremism alienates him from his Freedom Caucus colleagues on the far right of the GOP.
An exception to Jordan’s approach was Rep. Thomas Massey, R-Ky. And came a brief exchange between former FBI agent and committee witness Thomas Baker, in which Massey pressed Baker to use Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows backdoor surveillance of American citizens by monitoring the communications of noncitizens abroad. Massey, a longtime foe of the NSA and its mass surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden, suggested the committee could play a role in determining the fate of the legislation. FISA 702 is up for reauthorization this year and must be approved for continuation by Congress. “I hope we see this going forward,” he told the committee. Jordan, meanwhile, renewed his time-honored tone.
“In my time in Congress, I’ve never seen anything like this, dozens of whistleblowers, FBI agents, coming forward to talk about what’s going on in the political nature of the Justice Department. Jim Jordan is not saying this, not a Republican, not a conservative – good FBI agents who are willing to come forward and tell us the truth.
Time to focus on Jordan In his opening remarks about FBI whistleblowers reporting on the targeting of conservatives, the committee chair dropped a pointed attack on the Biden administration by the first two members of the combined panel, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Democrats’ control of the Senate has long stymied Republican efforts to investigate President Joe Biden and his son for overseas business dealings, and to investigate the yield of laptops containing compromising photos of Hunter Biden. But before Jordan’s committee, the two senators found a new audience to revive their complaints, both hammering law enforcement agencies they say have been compromised by liberal hiring and political maneuvering.
Grassley has described his ongoing efforts to investigate the Biden family as a “fictional spy thriller,” with senior FBI leadership, first installed under the Obama administration, working to misrepresent information about Hillary Clinton’s email servers, with Biden’s connections hidden. by doing family to foreign powers, and restricts information to hinder his investigation with Johnson.
“This story of government abuse and political betrayal is scarier than fiction,” Grassley said. “This really happened. Help us write the final chapter in this real-life drama. You must relentlessly present facts and evidence. Sen. Johnson and I will do the same and are willing to work with you.”
Johnson followed suit, painting a picture of a global leftist cabal implementing its agenda within federal government agencies. “It’s important to identify the corrupt people in the organizations I’m talking about,” Johnson said. “They serve as key partners in left-wing political movements that include mainstream media, Big Tech, social media giants, global institutions and foundations, Democratic Party operatives, and most members of elected officials. as [Twitter] As the files reveal, these actors work together to lose government control over our lives.”
Tulsi Gabbard, a heterodox former Democratic representative from Hawaii, focused much of her testimony on online censorship and communications between senior Twitter executives and members of federal law enforcement. An excerpt from The Intercept, based on so-called Twitter files, shows that while Twitter worked with law enforcement officials to monitor and restrict accounts it deemed a national security threat, it failed to maintain similar oversight over misleading posts by allies about the United States. – aligned objectives. Even so, Gabbard speaks in vague broad strokes about domestic censorship and the threat to democratic institutions that limit freedom of speech.
“We need to stop this madness and protect sacred freedoms and defeat the fear and self-censorship that is now rampant,” Gabbard said. “But as we sit here today, the danger is that we will be accused of being anti-authority if those in power proclaim so-called truths that we choose to reject or challenge. We are accused of being a danger to society, accused of spreading misinformation, and then targeted, stigmatized and called things like Russian assets, white supremacists, bigots, racists, sexists, extremists, traitors, etc.”
Before the hearing, Jordan had already issued his first subpoena as committee chairman, subpoenaing FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify about the FBI’s alleged surveillance of parents protesting school board meetings over Covid-19 measures at their children’s schools. Both Johnson and Jordan hit the FBI over a whistleblower complaint alleging that the FBI used counterterrorism tools and designations to target school board protesters. The Department of Justice Efforts by Jordan to demand information on ongoing investigations have been rejected.
Despite the fiery language of the assembled panel, there was little mention of the FBI’s long history of overreach and law-breaking in the past by both the Biden and Obama administrations. Similarly absent were references to known cases of FBI targeting left-wing protest movements with informants and activists who largely avoided seemingly clear allegations of entrapment against them.
As The Intercept reported this week, an FBI informant embedded with racial justice protesters in Colorado worked to coerce a protester into committing a crime while on the FBI’s payroll. Democrats on the committee and those testifying on their behalf also largely focused on threats made against the FBI to counter the GOP. They have repeatedly cited dirty bomb threats against FBI headquarters, as well as attacks on FBI field offices across the country, among other threats.
“Your subcommittee can become part of a proud history of serious bipartisan oversight, ranging from the Teapot Dome investigation, to the Boeing investigation, to the Watergate hearings, to the tobacco hearings, to the select committee on the January 6 attacks.” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Mo., told the committee. “Or you oversee a dark alley full of conspiracy theories and paranoia. A place where truly hostile and biased destruction is the overriding goal. Millions of Americans already fear that representation is the proper name for the special subcommittee, because its aim is not to arm the government, but rather to arm the government. What’s in a name? Well, everything.”