Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), is seeking Justice Department records regarding the work history of a senior FBI official following revelations of his apparent political bias on social media channels. Department guidelines require employees to avoid even the appearance of bias, which could undermine investigations or call into question the credibility of the department’s work. However, Timothy Thibault, an assistant special agent in charge (ASAC) at the FBI’s Washington Field Office engaged with and amplified partisan content on social media, sometimes under the label of his official job title. Thibault is assigned to oversee public corruption matters, which are often highly sensitive, and involve political figures.
“It has come to my attention that while serving in a highly sensitive role that includes threshold decision-making over which Federal public corruption matters are opened for investigation, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (“ASAC”) at the Washington Field Office, Timothy Thibault, likely violated several federal regulations and Department guidelines designed to prevent political bias from infecting FBI matters, including the Attorney General Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations and FBI social media policies. … ASAC Thibault has demonstrated a pattern of active public partisanship, such as using his official title for public partisan posts relating to his superiors and matters under the FBI’s purview, that is likely a violation of his ethical obligations as an FBI employee,” Grassley wrote in a letter today to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Chris Wray.
Grassley’s letter cited politically charged content from Thibault’s LinkedIn profile, including content directly related to Justice Department activity, where he identified himself as “Assistant Special Agent in Charge.” He also created and posted partisan content on Twitter.
Grassley also wrote to the Inspector General requesting an investigation into Thibault for potential violations of rules and regulations designed to prevent political bias from infecting FBI matters.
Grassley frequently hears from current and former government employees who come forward to shine a light on fraud, waste, abuse and gross mismanagement in government agencies or by government contractors. He protects the identities of these sources and frequently promotes policies that shield whistleblowers from retaliation. Individuals wishing to call attention to mismanagement or misconduct within the Justice Department and its component agencies, such as the FBI, should contact Sen. Grassley’s investigations unit at (202) 224-3738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full text of Grassley’s letter to the Justice Department and FBI can be found HERE.
Full text of Grassley’s letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General can be found HERE.