One of the FBI whistleblowers who has reported the politicization of the agency and its abuses was reportedly suspended on Monday.
Special Agent Steve Friend was stripped of his badge and gun before being walked out of the FBI field office in Daytona Beach. The 12-year FBI veteran reportedly refused to participate in an excessive and politicized raid he believed was unconstitutional and against agency policy.
Former FBI Special Agent Steve Friend is an example for good men everywhere. https://t.co/AEOkiqAlVw
— Tim (@chiche410) September 22, 2022
Friend filed a whistleblower report with Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general Michael Horowitz on Wednesday. The complaint lays out how FBI investigations related to January 6 violated a number of agency policies.
Consistent with a letter Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday, Friend said that he was told “domestic terrorism was a higher priority” than investigating sex crimes against children. He said he was taken off of active investigations into sexual explotation of minors in order to spend more time on January 6 cases sent from Washington headquarters.
Friend claimed that the D.C. office has been manipulating standard case-management protocols. In his letter, Jordan said other whistleblowers allege that Washington has been sending January 6 case files to local field offices nationwide in order to create “false and misleading crime statistics.”
Jordan went on to argue to Wray that the manipulation “creates the illusion that threats from domestic violence extremism are present in jurisdictions across the nation, when in reality they all stem from the same related investigation concerning the actions at the Capitol on Jan 6.” He added that the illusion allows FBI leadership to “misleadingly point” to claims of elevated domestic violence extremism around the country.
The reports support the claim that the FBI has been working to find evidence for its narrative published last year that it expected “anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists to likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats throughout 2021, and in fact leading into 2022.”
That narrative led to the creation of a new DOJ unit tasked with addressing domestic terrorism. Assistant A.G. for national security Matthew Olsen claimed the unit was needed to tackle a “growing threat” from Americans “who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies.”
Friend wrote in his complaint that the FBI has opened numerous domestic terrorism cases on innocent citizens who had no involvement in January 6.
Friend discussed agency tactics regarding the cases with his supervisor last month. He suggested it is “inappropriate to use an FBI SWAT team to arrest a subject for misdemeanor offenses and opined that the subject will likely face extended detainment and biased jury pools in Washington D.C.” He was later called before supervisors further up the chain of command to explain himself.
Before being suspended, Friend was told by Special Agent in Charge Sherri Onks that his “views represented an extremely small minority of the FBI workforce.”