DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – A 12-year FBI agent who spoke out against the agency’s abuse of conservative Americans was suspended last week for bringing his concerns to his superiors, and has detailed what he witnessed in a whistleblower complaint obtained by the New York Post.
FBI Special Agent Steve Friend was suspended September 19 after complaining to his superiors about what he saw as “overzealous” treatment of Americans investigated in connection with the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and after being declared “absent without leave” in August for refusing to participate in a SWAT raid against a Jacksonville, Florida suspect, who was accused only of a misdemeanor, on moral and constitutional grounds.
As detailed in a whistleblower complaint he submitted September 21 to U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz and shared with Republican lawmakers, Friend says he was removed from child sexual exploitation and human trafficking investigations to focus on January 6 offenders in the name of “domestic terrorism,” to the detriment of those investigations.
It alleges that the FBI’s Washington, D.C. field office is “manipulating” FBI case management protocol to assign J6 cases to field offices in other parts of the country in order to create the impression that the “threat” is more widespread than it really is; that it is opening domestic terrorism cases on innocent Americans who hadn’t even been at the Capitol on little more than anonymous tips; and more.
“[M]anipulative casefile practice…creates false and misleading crime statistics, constituting false official federal statements,” Friend explained. “Instead of hundreds of investigations stemming from an isolated incident at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, FBI and DOJ officials point to significant increases in domestic violent extremism and terrorism around the United States.”
Friend contends that the August raid (and its preceding investigation) violated both FBI policy as well as the suspect’s rights under the Sixth and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution (regarding a fair trial and cruel and unusual punishment); and that the FBI’s broader treatment of J6 subjects were “violating citizens’ Sixth Amendment rights due to overzealous charging by the DOJ and biased jury pools in Washington, DC.”
But when he suggested to Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Greg Federico that “the issuance of a court summons or utilizing surveillance groups to determine an optimal, safe time for a local sheriff deputy to contact the subjects and advise them about the existence of the arrest warrant” would be more appropriate for the August suspect than an FBI SWAT team mobilization, he was told he should have just “call[ed] in sick” and asked “how long I saw myself continuing to work for the FBI.”
Another superior to grill Friend over his objections to the raid, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Coult Markovsky, called him a “bad teammate” after he distinguished between J6 lawbreakers and individuals who peacefully entered the Capitol and correctly stated that no police officers were killed that day. Assistant Special Agents in Charge Sean Ryan and Sherri Onks also warned him about his career future.
Prior to his suspension, Friend lost his top-secret security clearance for downloading the FBI employee handbook and guidelines for employee disciplinary procedures “to an unauthorized removable flash drive.” On September 19, his gun and badge were taken from him and he was escorted out of the Bureau’s field office in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Friend has sacrificed his “dream job” to follow his conscience, he says. Many agents feel the same way, but fear making waves with their retirements fast approaching and their pensions on the line. He is one of just 20 whistleblowers within the FBI to raise such concerns with Republican members of Congress, according to the Post.
More than a year after the fact, Democrats continue to use the January 6 riot as a cudgel against Republicans. The riot broke out after former President Donald Trump’s “March to Save America” rally, which was meant to demand that Congress delay certification of the 2020 presidential election results over allegations of vote fraud in several states.
Viral videos showed people engaging in physical altercations with police, pushing against security barricades, breaking through windows, trespassing in congressional offices, and climbing on walls, causing the vote certification to be suspended and lawmakers to be evacuated from the chambers. Other videos, however, showed that many were let into the Capitol by police and simply walked the halls after the initial breach. Several people died, but the only one to die of direct, intentional violence was Trump supporter Ashlii Babbitt.
Trump’s political opponents blamed him for “inciting” the riot, leading to an unsuccessful impeachment attempt. Yet despite the FBI failing to find evidence that the violence was planned or organized, more than a dozen Democrat committee investigations into the event have continued ever since, with hundreds of people arrested and many conservatives expressing concerns about their treatment and disproportionate, selective punishment.
Under President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, the FBI and DOJ have grown even more brazen about pursuing their political enemies, from peaceful pro-life activists to concerned parents to Trump himself.