Kash Patel, a former chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller,

Kash Patel, a former chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, speaks during a campaign event for Republican election candidates at the Whiskey Roads Restaurant & Bar on July 31, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The GOP's "Weaponization" Subcommittee Leads to…. Kash Patel!

In his meteoric rise to the upper echelon of Trump advisers, here's the man who has been the Forrest Gump of Trump's biggest scandals.

Worse than a bust, it's a boomerang.

As part of the deal to become Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) promised far-right extremists a new committee to investigate the "weaponization" of the federal government. Its first chairperson, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), claims that "dozens" of "whistleblowers" have come forward with evidence that the Department of Justice—including the FBI—has been targeting conservatives.

So far, Jordan has surfaced with only three disgruntled former FBI employees who have little first-hand knowledge and a lot of baggage.

But behind two of them lies the real story.

The Roster and the Real Story

Jordan's first "star witness" is George Hill, a former FBI analyst in Boston's field office. On Twitter, Hill claimed that the Jan. 6 attack was a "set up" and that there was "a larger #Democrat plan using their enforcement arm, the #FBI." He also described the FBI as "the Brown Shirt enforcers of the @DNC"—a reference to Hitler's Nazi storm troopers.

The other two are Stephen Friend and Garrett O'Boyle. Friend resigned as a special agent in the FBI's Daytona Beach office after refusing to take part in a S.W.A.T. raid of a suspect in the January 6 insurrection. The suspect was an alleged member of the right-wing Three Percenter militia who posted a video of himself carrying an AR-15-style rifle outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Garrett O'Boyle is an FBI special agent from the Wichita office. The FBI suspended him, but he refuses to say why.

But the real story is that Friend and O'Boyle have a common benefactor—Kash Patel, who has provided them with financial support. Patel sent Friend $5,000 almost immediately after they connected in November 2022 and has helped to promote Friend's forthcoming book. Patel also got Friend his new job at the Center for Renewing America (CRA), a far-right organization where Patel is a fellow.

Another CRA fellow is former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, who pushed Trump to overturn the 2020 election. Appearing before the House's January 6 committee, Clark asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times.

But the person to watch is 43-year-old Kash Patel, formerly a top Jordan aide. In his meteoric rise to the upper echelon of Trump advisers, he has been the Forrest Gump of Trump's biggest scandals.


In the spring of 2017, Patel joined Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-CA) staff on the House Intelligence Committee and became an active participant in the effort to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation. As senior committee counsel, Patel became a key contributor to the Nunes memo attacking the FBI and the Justice Department.

In early 2019, Patel became senior counsel to Jim Jordan on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Trump's First Impeachment

By the time Trump tried to shake down Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019, Patel had moved to the president's National Security Council. Ukraine was outside Patel's portfolio of official responsibilities, but Trump referred to him as one of his top Ukraine policy specialists. The NSC specialists actually in charge of Ukraine policy feared that Patel was a backchannel to Trump—fueling the false narrative that Ukraine had interfered on behalf of Democrats in the 2016 election.

The Election, the Insurrection, and Trump's Second Impeachment

In February 2020, Trump named Patel as principal deputy to Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, another fierce Trump loyalist. A month later, Patel met with intelligence officials and imposed limits on what they could tell congressional leaders during closed-door sessions about Russia's efforts to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Patel got another promotion on November 10, shortly after every news outlet had confirmed that Trump had lost the election. Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appointed Patel—who had no military background—as chief of staff for Esper's replacement, Christopher Miller.

A month later, Trump planned to name Patel deputy director of the CIA, but fierce resistance at the 11th hour from CIA Director Gina Haspel, Vice President Mike Pence, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone caused Trump to reverse course.

After the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Patel was among the top Defense Department officials whose phones were "wiped"—deleting all text messages before, during, and after the insurrection.

The Mar-a-Lago Documents

By early 2022, the controversy between Trump and the National Archives over Trump's refusal to return presidential records, including classified material, was intensifying. In April, Trump named Patel to the board of his social media company. In May, Patel began claiming publicly and without evidence that Trump had declassified the documents. By then, the Archives had already referred the matter to the Justice Department. Shortly thereafter, a grand jury issued a subpoena to recover the material.

During Patel's October 13, 2022 appearance before the federal grand jury investigating Trump's handling of the Mar-a-Lago documents, he asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Three weeks later, Patel testified under a Justice Department grant of immunity from prosecution.

The Next Chapter

In July 2022, Axiosreported that Trump and his allies were preparing a plan for Trump's second term that would empower him to fire 50,000 federal workers throughout the bureaucracy and replace them with sycophants. At the top of his would-be administration, Trump wants people with "courage," such as Jeffrey Clark—a potential Trump attorney general—and Kash Patel.

Citing sources close to Trump, the Axios article concluded, "If Patel could survive Senate confirmation, there is a good chance Trump would make him CIA or FBI director. If not, Patel would likely serve in a senior role in the White House."

When it comes to "weaponizing" the federal government for partisan gain, Trump still has no equal—and no shortage of loyalists like Jim Jordan's former aide, Kash Patel, waiting to pull the trigger.

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