Citing new, overwhelming evidence, the watchdog group Empower Oversight has appealed to the FBI to restore whistleblower Marcus Allen to his job, provide back-pay, and reverse the proposed revocation of his security clearance.
Empower Oversight says the FBI took steps against in retaliation for his internal actions, pointing out that FBI Director Christopher Wray had given misleading testimony to the US Senate regarding the January 6, 2021 pro-Trump rally and riots.
Allen recently testified to Congress, alleging he was retaliated against for his honesty, stating "it appears that I was retaliated against because I forwarded information to my superiors and others that questioned the official narrative of the events of January 6. As a result, I was accused of promoting 'conspiratorial views' and 'unreliable information.' Because I did this, the FBI questioned my allegiance to the United States."
Allen also testified, "I served honorably in the United States Marine Corps from 2000 to 2005. I was deployed to Kuwait and served two tours in Iraq and contributed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. During my deployments, I was exposed to live enemy fire on numerous occasions, even though I served primarily in analytical and intelligence roles. I was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. I eventually joined the FBI and was employee of the year in 2019 in the Charlotte Field office. As the holder of a Top Secret security clearance since 2001, I have been trusted with the nation’s greatest secrets."
Empower Oversight's appeal letter follows the FBI’s apparent slow-walking a request for information from Allen’s attorneys.
On May 11, 2023, Allen's attorney sought to obtain his "clearance" investigative file, but the FBI delayed producing the records for more than four months, while denying Allen pay.
Once the records were produced, Empower Oversight says it became clear that they actually undermined the FBI’s position.
Empower president and co-counsel for Allen, Tristan Leavitt, lays out in the letter of appeal three detailed rebuttals to the FBI’s actions against Marcus Allen.
1) The re-adjudication of Allen’s clearance occurred in reprisal for a protected whistleblower disclosure, a violation of Presidential Policy Directive 19 (“PPD-19”) and 50 U.S.C. § 3341(j)(1)
2) The proposed revocation is based on erroneous factual conclusions that do not meet the standards for revocation under Security Executive Agent Directive 4, the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines (June 8, 2017) (“Adjudicative Guidelines”)
3) The proposed revocation is in violation of the First and possibly Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Throughout the letter, Leavitt cites new evidence from the FBI’s own files to poke holes in the pretexts for Allen’s clearance suspension and proposed revocation.
Citing new evidence found in the FBI’s own belatedly-released files, Leavitt writes:
Each of Mr. Allen’s supervisors agreed that “Allen has never said or done anything which caused [them] to believe Allen was directly involved in, or that he supported, the criminal activity which occurred at the Capitol on January 6”: his [Supervisory Intelligence Analyst]; his [Supervisory Special Agent]; and his Assistant Special Agent in Charge. So did the Charlotte Chief Division Counsel. Similarly, each of Mr. Allen’s supervisors agreed: “Allen has never given [them] cause to question his allegiance to the US. Allen has never given [them] cause to believe he advocates violence against the US, supports overthrowing the government, or supports those who do.” Simply put, expressing concern for constitutional rights and questioning government actions is not a reason to question someone’s allegiance to the United States, it is a reason to confirm their allegiance to our constitutional form of government. There is no basis to revoke Mr. Allen’s clearance under Guideline A.
By disclosing in good faith to supervisors in his direct chain of command his reasonable belief that Director Wray may have lied to Congress, Mr. Allen’s September 29, 2021 communications were protected by various provisions of law...Under PPD-19 § B and 50 U.S.C. § 3341(j)(1), no FBI employee with authority to take any action affecting Mr. Allen’s eligibility for access to classified information could legally do so as a reprisal or in retaliation for this protected disclosure.
Yet, Leavitt notes, the new evidence shows “the entire security investigation into Mr. Allen was predicated solely upon his protected disclosure.”
Leavitt writes about the chilling effect failing to reinstate Allen will have on future whistleblowers and their importance to government accountability:
Given the centrality of Mr. Allen’s protected whistleblower disclosure of September 29, 2021 to his security clearance investigation, suspension, and proposed revocation, they constitute reprisal and retaliation for that disclosure. Because this is prohibited by PPD-19 and 50 U.S.C. § 3341(j)(1), the decision to revoke Mr. Allen’s clearance should be reversed. To do otherwise would ignore the intent of both Congress and the President in adopting these legal protections for whistleblowers. It would also chill good-faith communications from future potential whistleblowers, who can help to root out waste, fraud, and abuse and make the FBI a better agency.
Read the 26 page appeal letter, click here.