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Report: Biden staffers fired for past marijuana use after being told it would be ‘overlooked’

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A number of young White House staffers have been suspended, asked to resign, or placed in a remote work program due to past marijuana use, despite being told the past transgressions would be “overlooked,” The Daily Beast has reported.

Incoming staffers were initially told by the Biden administration that recreational use of cannabis would be “overlooked” and they were still encouraged to apply for the positions, sources told Daily Beast.

The staffers were fired because they revealed past marijuana use in an official document they filled out as part of the background check for a position in the Biden White House.

Many of the ex-staffers lived in one of the 14 U.S. states where marijuana use is legal.

“It’s exclusively targeting younger staff and staff who came from states where it was legal,” a former staffer said.

The staffer added that “nothing was ever explained” while on firing calls led by Anne Filipic, the House director of management and administration.

“The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained,” the staffer said.

When asked about the White House’s policy on marijuana and its effect on the administration’s staffing, a WH spokesperson disputed the number of affected staff and said the Biden administration is “committed to bringing the best people into government—especially the young people whose commitment to public service can deepen in these positions.” The spokesperson noted that the White House’s approach to past marijuana use is “much more flexible” than previous administrations, the Daily Beat reported.

“The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the president expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years,” the spokesperson added. “This decision was made following intensive consultation with career security officials and will effectively protect our national security while modernizing policies to ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.”

The firings come after the Biden administration officially updated its guidelines earlier this year to allow for “limited” use of the drug in the past.

“I find it absurd that, in 2021, marijuana use is still part of a security clearance background check,” Tommy Vietor, former spokesperson for President Obama and the United States National Security Council, said Thursday. “To me, marijuana use is completely irrelevant when you’re trying to decide whether an individual should be trusted with national security information.”

While marijuana has been legalized in a growing number of states, in the eyes of the federal government, the drug remains illegal — making it difficult for staffers to get security clearances if they’ve used the drug before.

The president remains the final authority on who can receive a clearance.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Is the FBI ‘purging’ agents with Conservative views?

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On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan formally requested that the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, open an investigation into the FBI’s alleged use of political litmus tests to sideline or remove agents and employees with conservative viewpoints. This request also included a direct warning to FBI Director Christopher Wray about these practices.

Jordan’s action follows a report by Just the News detailing how an FBI security clearance review involved inquiries about an employee’s political beliefs. Specifically, the review asked whether the employee had expressed support for former President Donald Trump, attended a Second Amendment rally, or voiced skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter to Director Wray, Jordan expressed wrote, “The FBI appears to be purging itself of employees who do not share its preferred political views.” He emphasized the troubling nature of these practices, especially when they impinge on fundamental liberties and constitutional rights.

Speaking on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, Jordan highlighted the severity of the situation: “Particularly when they’re asking about fundamental liberties, your constitutional rights, I mean, that is that is frightening stuff.” He further noted the retaliatory actions taken against whistleblowers who bring such issues to light, adding, “You put all that together, and you talk about politics driving what happens there.”

Jordan’s inquiry into the political weaponization of law enforcement has been ongoing, with a particular focus on the FBI’s conduct. In his communication with Inspector General Horowitz, Jordan underscored that the targeting of an employee’s political beliefs and First Amendment activities was deeply concerning and seemingly unrelated to legitimate security risk assessments. “These actions only serve to further erode the dwindling public trust in the FBI and reinforce the Committee and Select Subcommittee’s concerns about political bias within the FBI,” he wrote.

Jordan also referenced evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, which suggested political retaliation against FBI whistleblowers aiding Congress. He pointed out that an FBI official allegedly disclosed nonpublic information about these whistleblowers to a Democrat member of the Select Subcommittee, ostensibly to discredit their testimonies about FBI misconduct. “It appears from the documents that the FBI sought to selectively disclose this nonpublic information so that it would be used to impugn the credibility of the whistleblowers,” Jordan stated.

In his separate letter to Wray, Jordan questioned the relevance of political viewpoints to security clearance determinations. He argued that while assessing the legality of employees’ actions is legitimate, questions about political beliefs are “completely irrelevant to any legitimate security risk determination” and infringe upon First Amendment rights.

Following the release of internal FBI memos showing that bureau officials had inquired about an employee’s support for Trump, stance on COVID-19 vaccines, and participation in a Second Amendment rally, concerns about political bias have intensified. These memos indicated that the employee’s security clearance was revoked months after confirming his conservative views and vaccine skepticism.

Tristan Leavitt, the lawyer representing the affected FBI employee, commended the congressional oversight, stating, “It’s good to see Congress holding the FBI’s feet to the fire.” He emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into how these questions were used to justify purging conservative employees from the FBI.

 Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton echoed this sentiment on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show, predicting that the FBI would attempt to deflect criticism despite clear evidence of misconduct. “I’m sure we’ll get some distraction and noise from Chris Wray and a reaffirmation that the FBI never does anything wrong, even when it’s caught red-handed,” Fitton remarked.

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