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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz on Thursday argued that the FBI under the Biden administration has been politically “capture[d]” as it turns its immense power and resources against conservatives, Catholics, pro-lifers, and whistleblowers.

“The FBI has been victimized by political capture, and that [politicization] has manifested in the targeting of Americans who never deserved to have this government weaponized against them,” Rep. Gaetz said. “Whistleblowers saw those bad acts. They stepped forward and they were retaliated against and crushed as a consequence.”

Gaetz made the allegation during a May 18 press conference just ahead of a hearing held by the Republican-led House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the subcommittee, headed by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, was established to investigate the alleged use of federal government powers to target conservatives.

Kicking off the press conference, Rep. Jordan argued that “politics is driving the agenda in far too many of our federal agencies,” and pointed to the recently-dropped Durham report that vindicated former U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that the FBI had spied on his 2016 presidential campaign without cause.

Jordan said the situation with the FBI today is even worse than the targeting of Trump’s campaign because “it’s not just going after presidential candidates, presidential campaigns, today it’s the American people.”

READ: Mark Houck tells Congress that Biden FBI raid was meant to ‘instill fear in pro-life America’

“If you’re a parent attending a school board meeting, you’re a pro-lifer praying at a clinic, or you’re a Catholic simply going to Mass, you are a target of the government, [a] target of the FBI,” he said, adding that whistleblowers within the FBI (three of whom agreed to share their stories with the subcommittee Thursday) have been “attacked” by the agency for coming forward. Whistleblowers, he said, have had their security clearances revoked and been placed in a “limbo” state in which they are unable to seek other employment to support their families.

In a brief presentation following Jordan’s introduction, Rep. Gaetz played a video clip of former FBI field agent Garrett O’Boyle, who characterized the political environment of the allegedly weaponized FBI as “cancerous.”

“One group that saw that weaponization work against them were Catholics,” Gaetz said, referencing the infamous memo put out by the Richmond, Virginia, FBI field office directing surveillance of so-called “radical traditionalist Catholics” (RTCs), particularly in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election. The directive was retracted following outrage, but FBI agent-turned-whistleblower Kyle Seraphin later said the document was still being internally circulated.

Gaetz also noted that parents who attended school board meetings to voice their disagreement with radical sexual and racial curricula and COVID mandates were also subjected to scrutiny by federal law enforcement as potential terror threats. He said 12-year FBI employee Steve Friend “actually found himself ridiculed at his own FBI office because he too was a parent who attended the school board meeting.”

Friend is one of the FBI whistleblowers who has had his security clearance revoked. The FBI has stated that it took action against Friend after he refused to participate in a SWAT raid on an alleged January 6 protester and “espoused an alternative narrative” about the riot, PBS reported.

READ: FBI agent blows whistle on mistreatment of Jan. 6 protesters, ‘manipulating’ facts

Gaetz went on to play a video of FBI whistleblower George Hill, who said the Washington field office refused to provide full surveillance footage of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in order to prevent outing potential informants. The Capitol riot has been used as a political cudgel by the left to smear Trump-supporters as “insurrectionists.”

According to Hill, the Washington field office refused to grant access to the 11,000 hours of video footage because there “may be” undercover officers or “confidential human sources” who appear “in those videos whose identities need to be protected.”

Another whistleblower, Marcus Allen, said he was concerned about the potential “federal involvement with the activities on January 6” and the FBI’s “forthrightness” about that involvement, issues he thought were significant enough to warrant attention. In a letter to Rep. Jordan ahead of the congressional hearing, the FBI argued that Allen was punished after he “failed to provide relevant information to an FBI Special Agent (SA) regarding subjects who were allegedly involved in criminal activity” on January 6, and supported “alternative theories” about the riot.

The comments by Allen and Hill appear to lend weight to ongoing allegations by conservatives that the federal government was actively involved in the events of January 6. 

Questions remain unanswered, for instance, regarding Ray Epps, a January 6 protester who was caught on video urging people to enter the Capitol while Trump supporters shouted him down. Unlike many other January 6 protesters, Epps has not been arrested or charged with a crime and has even been fêted by The New York Times.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has denied that FBI informants or employees “instigated or orchestrated” the riot, though he has declined to say whether confidential human sources or informants were used.

READ: FBI had at least eight informants embedded with Proud Boys during January 6 riot: report

In another video clip shown by Gaetz, O’Boyle alleged that his superiors in the FBI “essentially tried to get me to violate policy or law” in pursuing an anonymous, uncorroborated tip. He also said that the FBI has engaged in “stat-padding” or “case-bolstering” to elevate the appearance of domestic terrorism threats. 

As an example, he said an investigation into a militia group that ought to have been just one case with subfiles for individual members was instead made into four separate cases for each member. He said he believes the reason for doing so was to lead Congress to believe that the “domestic terrorism” threat was larger than it truly was.

“Trying to get people to violate the law without sufficient predication is a weaponization of our government, and all Americans suffer when resources are misallocated, when stats are padded,” Gaetz said in his presentation, blasting the “political capture and political infection” of the federal law enforcement agency.

According to Gaetz, local FBI field offices are often doing good work while “a lot of the rot, this committee has learned, emerges out of headquarters and out of the Washington field office.”

During his testimony before Congress shortly after the press conference, O’Boyle explained to lawmakers how the FBI retaliated against himself, his wife, and his four young daughters after he blew the whistle. 

According to Boyle, the FBI allowed him to sell his house and move “halfway across the country” for a new assignment only to suspend him on the first day of his new role, “rendering my family homeless” while his youngest daughter was just weeks old.

“They refused to release our goods, including our clothes for weeks,” he said. “All I wanted to do was serve my country by stopping bad guys and protecting the innocent.” However, he said, “bad guys have begun running parts of the government, making it difficult to continue serving this nation and protecting the innocent.”

“But I for one will never stop trying, and I will never forget my oath,” O’Boyle said.