FBI Raids Home of Prominent Bureau Whistleblower

Johnathan Buma has said he faced retaliation over his investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s Russian ties.

Beata Zawrzel/Zuma

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Federal agents on Monday raided the Los Angeles-area home of an FBI whistleblower who has alleged that bureau higher-ups thwarted an investigation of Rudy Giuliani, two sources said. The whistleblower, FBI agent Johnathan Buma, has said that Giuliani “may have been compromised” by Russian intelligence while working as a lawyer for Donald Trump.

Scott Horton, an attorney representing Buma, said that Buma was presented with a search warrant when he went into the bureau’s Orange County, California, field office on Monday. Agents searched Buma’s person, after which a large group of agents, over more than six hours, searched his residence, confiscating all the digital media in the home, including the computers and watches of his wife and four children.

A search warrant reviewed by Mother Jones said the agents were looking for evidence that Buma had violated laws against unauthorized removal of classified documents and unauthorized removal of national defense documents.

Horton said that the search turned up no classified material and that the agents seized only Buma’s own whistleblower complaint, which is not classified. The raid “is designed to be in retaliation for the whistleblower complaints,” Horton claimed. “It’s very heavy harassment.”

Buma has also been “shunned and attacked” by fellow agents, Horton said. He said that in recent weeks, someone put large plastic rats, three-to-four feet long, next to Buma’s FBI cubicle.

Buma has filed statements with congressional investigators outlining his findings related to Giuliani and detailing his allegations that senior bureau officials shut down his investigative efforts and later retaliated against him. Buma’s claims, some of which leaked this summer, received substantial media attention, including from Mother Jones, in part because he has countered GOP arguments that the bureau was eager to investigate Trump allies but was reluctant to look into Hunter Biden. Buma claims the opposite was true. He asserted in a statement filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee that FBI agents moved quickly to scrutinize information on Hunter Biden’s business activities, even as his own investigation into Giuliani was shut down without explanation. (Buma has said that his investigative work was the first to turn up certain pieces of information related to Hunter Biden’s Ukraine dealings.)

Recent news reports have revealed that billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel and Charles Johnson—a onetime Thiel associate and prominent former far-right agitator—had previously acted as confidential informants for Buma.

Horton said he believed the office of FBI Director Christopher Wray was targeting Buma and other FBI whistleblowers, including some whose claims have been widely cited by Republicans. “In Buma’s case, the Bureau’s conduct raises special concerns that counterintelligence activities targeting the Russian intelligence services are being blocked when they produce evidence that the Bureau considers politically embarrassing,” Horton said in a statement.

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday on the search of Buma’s home and his accusations of retaliation.

This article has been updated.

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