George Piro, a highly decorated FBI agent, stands accused of misconduct by a group of former agents who had been placed on leave and called themselves “the Suspendables.” In a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray, the group surfaced persistent accusations against the bureau, saying it had discriminated against conservative-leaning agents. The letter falsely suggested that Piro, 55, who once ran the Miami FBI office, had played a suspicious role in the bureau’s search this summer of Mar-a-Lago, former President Trump’s private club and residence in Florida. “These claims are absolutely false,” Piro told the New York Times. “I dedicated my life to the country and the FBI. I am disappointed that former agents would spread lies about me.”
The attacks on Piro, and his angry rebuttal of them, are emblematic of a toxic dynamic that is increasingly central to Republican Party politics. Trump supporters — among them, Republicans poised to take over the House next month — have seized on the letter’s accusations and stepped up their assaults on the FBI, seeking to undermine the bureau just as it has assumed the lead in an array of investigations of Trump. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who will be the Judiciary Committee’s chairman next month, has pledged to investigate what he describes as the politicization of the FBI and the main Justice Department. The committee’s Republican staff released a 1,000-page report last month that asserted that the FBI hierarchy “spied on President Trump’s campaign and ridiculed conservative Americans” and that the “rot within the F.B.I. festers in and proceeds from Washington.” Historically, the FBI's most vocal critics have come from figures on the left, who have accused it of using heavy-handed tactics in investigating groups like trade unionists or civil rights activists.