“Large numbers” of rank-and-file FBI agents across the United States are disgusted with the regime’s politicized January 6 investigation, but most are too afraid of reprisals to speak out, according to an FBI whistleblower who went public Wednesday night.
FBI Special Agent Steve Friend, 37, was suspended Monday, “stripped of his gun and badge, and escorted out of the FBI field office in Daytona Beach, Fla.,” after conscientiously objecting to taking part in the Bureau’s harassment of conservative Americans, the New York Post reported.
Column's up: FBI hero paying the price for exposing unjust persecution of conservative Americans https://t.co/sIxHTiMv4j
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) September 22, 2022
Friend says he was punished after he complained to his superiors about having to be involved in J6 investigations that were “violating citizens’ Sixth Amendment rights due to overzealous charging by the DOJ and biased jury pools in Washington, DC.”
The whistleblower alleges that “FBI domestic terrorism cases are being opened on American citizens who were nowhere near the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” according to the Post.
Friend, a SWAT team member who was with the FBI for 12 years, made those allegations and more in a bombshell whistleblower complaint filed late Wednesday with the Department of Justice Inspector General’s office.
He is among 20 whistleblowers from the bureau who have reported concerns about the weaponization of the FBI against the Biden administration’s political opponents to Republican members of Congress.
In his complaint, the whistleblower alleges that he was removed from active investigations into child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to work on the January 6 investigation. He said he was told “domestic terrorism was a higher priority” than child pornography. Because of this, Friend believes his child trafficking investigations were damaged.
Among his stunning allegations, Friend says the FBI has retroactively designated a grassy area outside the Capitol (that was not restricted on Jan. 6, 2021) as a restricted zone in order to widen the net of prosecutions. The Whistleblower alleges that the FBI intends to “prosecute everyone even peripherally associated with J6,” according to the Post. He also alleges that the FBI has created fraudulent crime statistics to give the false impression that right-wing domestic terrorism is the greatest threat to America.
The agent was declared absent without leave last month after he refused to participate in a SWAT raid in Jacksonville, Florida that he felt was a use of excessive force against Jan. 6 subjects accused of minor offenses.
Friend, who did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, said he told his immediate boss twice that he believed the raid, and the investigative process leading up to it, violated FBI policy and the subject’s right under the Sixth Amendment to a fair trial and Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.
“This American hero, the father of two small children, has blown up his ‘dream career’ because he could not live with his conscience if he continued to be part of what he sees as the unjust persecution of conservative Americans,” wrote the Post’s Miranda Devine.
Friend said that he asserted his right to conscientiously object to joining a raid on a J6 subject in the Jacksonville, Fla., area on Aug. 24, telling his supervisors: “I have an oath to uphold the Constitution,” and “I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector.”
Most agents, he said, just keep their heads down “because they are close to their 20-year retirement with full pension.” But he said he’s heard from many who are equally disgusted at being used as pawns in the regime’s political investigations.
Other whistleblowers say that the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Aug. 8 increased the level of discomfort of agents within the Bureau, according to the Post.
He says he was removed from active investigations into child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to work on J6 cases sent from DC. He was told “domestic terrorism was a higher priority” than child pornography. As a result, he believes his child exploitation investigations were harmed.
Friend’s allegations include:
The Washington, DC, field office is “manipulating” FBI case management protocol and farming out J6 cases to field offices across the country to create the false impression that right-wing domestic violence is a widespread national problem that goes far beyond the “black swan” event of Jan. 6, 2021.
As a result, he was listed as lead agent in cases he had not investigated and which his supervisor had not signed off on, in violation of FBI policy.
FBI domestic terrorism cases are being opened on innocent American citizens who were nowhere near the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, based on anonymous tips to an FBI hotline or from Facebook spying on their messages. These tips are turned into investigative tools called “guardians,” after the FBI software that collates them.
The FBI has post-facto designated a grassy area outside the Capitol as a restricted zone, when it was not restricted on Jan. 6, 2021, in order to widen the net of prosecutions. The FBI intends to prosecute everyone even peripherally associated with J6 and another wave of J6 subjects are about to be referred to the FBI’s Daytona Beach resident agency “for investigation and arrest.”
The Jacksonville area was “inundated” with “guardian” notifications and FBI agents were dispatched to conduct surveillance and knock on people’s doors, including people who had not been in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021, or who had been to the Trump rally that day but did not go inside the Capitol.
According to the Post, Friend’s top-secret security clearance was suspended last week after he “entered FBI space [his office] and downloaded documents from FBI computer systems [an employee handbook and guidelines for employee disciplinary procedures] to an unauthorized removable flash drive.”
The whistleblower was told in a letter from the head of FBI human resources on Sept. 16, that he was losing his security clearance also because he “espoused beliefs which demonstrate questionable judgment [and demonstrated] an unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations.”
In his whistleblower complaint, Friend said he faced “reprisals” from his supervisors after he voiced his conscientious objections to the Bureau’s politicized investigations.
He also alleges that they ignored his complaint about “manipulative casefile practice [which] creates false and misleading crime statistics, constituting false official federal statements.”
“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,” he stated, adding: “At no point was I advised or counseled on where to take my disclosure beyond the reprising officials above; the threatened reprisal constituted a de facto gag on my whistleblowing.”
He said that on Aug. 19, he first told his boss, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Greg Federico, that he believed “it was inappropriate to use an FBI SWAT team to arrest a subject for misdemeanor offenses and opined that the subject would likely face extended detainment and biased jury pools in Washington, DC.”
Friend said he suggested alternatives “such as 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.”
Federico responded by telling him it would have been better to just “call in sick” rather than speak out, and “threatened reprisal indirectly by asking how long I saw myself continuing to work for the FBI.”
Friend says he was summoned to Jacksonville four days later to meet his next-level bosses, Assistant Special Agents in Charge Coult Markovsky and Sean Ryan, to discuss his refusal to join the SWAT raid.
He told them about his concerns over “irregular” case handling of J6 matters that he believed were in violation of a legal rule known as “Brady” that requires prosecutors to disclose evidence that would exonerate a defendant.
When his supervisors asked if he believed any J6 rioters committed crimes, Friend says he replied: “Some of the people who entered the Capitol committed crimes, but others were innocent. I elaborated that I believed some innocent individuals had been unjustly prosecuted, convicted and sentenced.”
Markovsky then asked the whistleblower if he thought J6 rioters who “killed police officers” should be prosecuted, even though no police were killed by the Trump supporters. When Friend pointed out that “there were no police officers killed on January 6, 2021,” Markovsky allegedly told him he was being a “bad teammate.”
He said both agents “threatened reprisal again by warning that my refusal [to go on the SWAT raid] could amount to insubordination. References were made to my future career prospects with the FBI.”
A week after he was labeled AWOL and stripped of his pay, Friend says he was told to meet the top agent in Jacksonville, Special Agent in Charge Sherri Onks, who told him he needed to do some “soul searching” to decide if he still wanted to work for the FBI.
When he told her “many of my colleagues expressed similar concerns to me but had not vocalized their objections to FBI executive management,” she told him his “views represented an extremely small minority of the FBI workforce.”
According to the whistleblower, Onks then claimed that she feared for her own life on Jan. 6, 2021, when she was sitting on the seventh floor of the secure J. Edgar Hoover Building, FBI headquarters, after protesters one mile away “seized the Capitol and threatened the United States’ democracy.”
Onks assumed the role of Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Office in January of 2022.
Sherri Onks, Special Agent in Charge of the @FBIJacksonville Office was able to join us as she begins her new role. She serves a large territory in Florida and the sheriffs are looking forward to working with her. pic.twitter.com/F7MxRiGRD4
— Florida Sheriffs Association (@FLSheriffs) January 25, 2022
Friend says his concerns are shared by large numbers of rank-and-file FBI agents across the country who believe they are being used as pawns to pursue the political agenda of the bosses in Washington, DC.
Many agents, who joined the FBI in the wake of 9/11, are keeping their heads down because they are close to their 20-year retirement with full pension. But he says they are equally disgusted at being forced to take part in the politicization of federal law enforcement.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has been working with the heroic FBI whistleblowers, and has been trying to introduce legislation to strengthen the bureau’s weak whistleblower protections. “Friend’s complaint will be a test case,” the Post reported.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Aug. 11, Grassley alleged that a committee of FBI field agents had been to see Wray to express the concerns of agents in all 56 field offices across the country that “the FBI has become too politicized in its decision-making.” Grassley further alleges “those concerns were removed from this year’s final report” of the FBI’s Special Agents Advisory Committee.
Wray ignored that letter along with a dozen other letters from the Iowa senator alleging corruption and malfeasance at the Bureau in recent months.
The FBI currently employs approximately 35,000 people, so there should be a few more than 20 whistleblowers speaking out against the politicization of the Bureau.
But if more FBI agents find their spines, perhaps Wray will be forced to face the music.
The New York Post’s Miranda Devine was in Tucker Carlson Tonight Wednesday night to discuss this story. She told Carlson that Friend “is the first of many” whistleblowers to come forward and speak out against FBI’s the ever-increasing abuses of power.