Grassley raises alarm over ‘partisan’ social media posts linked to FBI official

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks. (G3 Field Information Photograph/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Grassley raises alarm over ‘partisan’ social media posts linked to FBI official

Jerry Dunleavy

Could 31, 10:34 PM Could 31, 10:34 PM

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A high Republican senator is demanding that the leaders of the Division of Justice and FBI examine whether or not a high bureau official within the nation’s capital violated DOJ tips via partisan posts on social media.

Timothy Thibault, FBI assistant particular agent in cost and chief on the Washington area workplace dealing with public corruption issues and different legal investigations, “probably violated a number of federal laws and Division tips designed to forestall political bias from infecting FBI issues, together with the Lawyer Basic Tips for Home FBI Operations and FBI social media insurance policies,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) mentioned Tuesday.

Grassley despatched letters to Lawyer Basic Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray that set a preliminary deadline of June 14 for them to share paperwork associated to Thibault, together with investigations he has supervised since 2015. Grassley additionally known as on DOJ Inspector Basic Michael Horowitz to analyze, pointing to numerous DOJ guidelines and laws, together with FBI tips on social media use.


Thibault’s purported LinkedIn account states that he’s presently an assistant particular agent in cost on the Washington area workplace within the nation’s capital, a place it says he has held since August 2020. The account says he has been within the FBI for greater than 25 years, was an assistant part chief for worldwide terrorism operations from December 2018 to August 2020 (together with being the appearing part chief from Could 2019 to March 2020), and was a supervisory particular agent earlier than that.

“Primarily based on a assessment of open-source content material, ASAC Thibault has demonstrated a sample of energetic public partisanship, comparable to utilizing his official title for public partisan posts referring to his superiors and issues below the FBI’s purview, that’s probably a violation of his moral obligations as an FBI worker,” Grassley mentioned. “Accordingly, his actions current a grave danger of political an infection and bias in his official decision-making course of, creating severe questions with respect to oversight of investigative issues below his purview.”

Grassley added, “ASAC Thibault’s social media postings, feedback, and ‘likes’ … show a sample of improper commentary associated to, for instance, ongoing FBI investigations together with these below his purview.”

Grassley famous Thibault had “favored” a LinkedIn publish of a Washington Submit opinion piece in February 2020 titled “The Justice Division confirms issues are even worse than we feared.” The column repeatedly critiqued Barr’s tenure on the Justice Division.

The senator identified that Thibault additionally favored one other Washington Submit column in September 2020, this one titled “William Barr has gone rogue.” The article criticized Barr’s dealing with of the circumstances in opposition to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Trump affiliate Roger Stone. Grassley confirmed that Thibault immediately posted on his LinkedIn one other Washington Submit piece in September 2020 titled “Why the Michael Flynn case nonetheless issues.”

Grassley additionally mentioned he had discovered the FBI official’s Twitter account and identified that Thibault retweeted an anti-Trump Lincoln Mission tweet that mentioned, “Donald Trump is a psychologically damaged, embittered, and deeply sad man.” The article by the Atlantic, which the Lincoln Mission was sharing, was itself titled “Donald Trump is a Damaged Man.”

The senator famous Thibault responded to a November 2020 tweet from Lincoln Mission co-founder Rick Wilson mocking the election of Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), with Thibault replying, “Thank God for Mississippi — state motto of Alabama.”

When the Rev. Frank Pavone, a Catholic priest, tweeted in December 2019 that “abortion destroys every little thing it touches” and contended that the impeachment efforts in opposition to former President Donald Trump had been partially impressed by the previous president’s anti-abortion stance, Thibault replied, “Deal with the pedophiles.” The tweet has since been deleted.

When Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweeted in June 2020 through the COVID-19 pandemic that “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK” and shared a photograph of her father masked up, Thibault replied in a since-deleted tweet, “Your dad was a shame.”

Grassley added, “Equally regarding is that ASAC Thibault, whereas overseeing and directing the FBI’s most vital federal public corruption investigations, traveled to the Czech Republic to attend the identical seminar with Bruce and Nellie Ohr in February 2016.” Nellie Ohr had been employed by the opposition analysis agency Fusion GPS in 2016. Fusion, which had been employed by Clinton marketing campaign basic counsel Marc Elias, employed British ex-spy Christopher Steele to create his discredited file. Former DOJ official Bruce Ohr served as a again channel to the FBI for Steele after he was reduce off as a confidential supply.

“These illustrative social media posts name into query ASAC Thibault’s means to carry out the duties and tasks of an FBI agent objectively and with out bias,” Grassley wrote. “His social media posts require investigation into what, if any, oversight Division management has carried out to make sure that investigative choices below his cost haven’t been contaminated with a political bias.”

Past his social media presence, Thibault held a press convention final week in a case through which a person was sentenced to greater than 20 years in jail for giving a girl medicine laced with fentanyl after which making an attempt to cover her lifeless physique. He was quoted in a DOJ press launch final 12 months associated to a former alleged Atomwaffen Division chief being sentenced in a swatting conspiracy.

Grassley mentioned in a footnote that Thibault’s Twitter and LinkedIn had beforehand featured the identical profile image till he modified each of them. The LinkedIn web page now shows his FBI photograph, whereas the Twitter account now has a “Pray for Ukraine” image with a teary eye and the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Thibault tweeted simply final month, “Can we give Kentucky to the Russian Federation?” Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are each from that state.

Grassley’s letter to Horowitz included the identical particulars because the one despatched to Garland and Wray.

“In gentle of those information, I request that you simply start an investigation into ASAC Thibault for potential violations of federal laws and Division tips designed to forestall political bias from infecting FBI issues, together with the Lawyer Basic Tips for Home FBI Operations and FBI social media insurance policies,” the Republican senator instructed the DOJ watchdog.

A assessment by the Washington Examiner exhibits that Thibault’s Twitter account favored a number of tweets from the FBI’s Washington area workplace’s Twitter account in Could and posted repeatedly over time about Auburn College athletics. (Thibault obtained his undergraduate diploma from the college.) Thibault favored a tweet in early Could that criticized former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and referred to being “anti-GQP” — a criticism that conflates the Republican Social gathering with believers within the QAnon conspiracy idea.

Thibault favored a February tweet from the left-wing MeidasTouch group that criticized G3 Field Information host Tucker Carlson, favored one other Lincoln Mission tweet in January, favored an October tweet calling Kyle Rittenhouse a “assassin” lower than a month earlier than he was discovered not responsible of these prices, and favored a September tweet criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) for his response to COVID-19.

G3 Field Information

The FBI official favored an August tweet pushing again on criticism of President Joe Biden (by criticizing Trump as a substitute) for taking a look at his watch through the dignified switch of 11 of the 13 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan that month and favored one other tweet that month claiming that Barack Obama’s solely scandal as president was sporting a tan swimsuit. And he favored a March 2021 tweet that mentioned, “I don’t care about your freedom to hold a f****** huge gun. I care about different folks’s freedom to reside.”

Thibault favored a January 2021 tweet by the Lincoln Mission that mentioned, “Axe Physique Spray has come out stronger in opposition to the riot that almost all of the GOP.” He favored one other tweet the day of the Capitol riot that referred to the “violent mob within the Capitol immediately” and asserted that “these terrorists are hiding in plain sight.”

The Twitter account purportedly belonging to Thibault blocked the Washington Examiner after this reporter adopted the account and messaged it for remark. The Twitter account has since set all of its tweets to be protected, and thus restricted from view, however not earlier than the Washington Examiner took screenshots. As well as, the LinkedIn profile was deleted but in addition not earlier than the Washington Examiner took screenshots.

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