Sep 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House panel probes threats to federal employees

Rep. Stephen Lynch, wearing a blue suit, light blue shirt and red tie, speaks into a microphone at a congressional hearing.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). Photo: Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images.

The House Oversight Committee is investigating threats to the federal workforce and grilling the government agency charged with protecting it.

Why it matters: The probe comes in response to highly charged Republican rhetoric over the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago last month and increased funding for IRS agents in the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • "Democrats' new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you," tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last month.

Driving the news: Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the chair of the national security subcommittee, sent a letter to the Federal Protective Service (FPS) on Wednesday asking about security for federal employees.

  • The letter cited an Aug. 10 email reportedly sent by FPS' principal deputy director to a top Department of Homeland Security official warning of a "spike in expressed social media threats against the FBI and to a lesser extent, other government and law enforcement agencies" after Mar-a-Lago.
  • It also pointed to an FPS bulletin, also on Aug. 10, calling for a "heightened state of vigilance" in protecting federal buildings.

What they're saying: The two chairs requested an "assessment of the current threat environment facing federal employees," and asked whether FPS, which protects more than 9,000 federal government buildings, has "sufficient financial resources to meet the current and growing threat environment."

  • "What actions does FPS intend to take to ensure the safety of federal employees or facilities as a result of the current threat environment?" they also wrote.

What's next: The letter requested responses from the agency by Sept. 28.

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