A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent filed a whistleblower report Wednesday after being suspended, the New York Post reported.
FBI Special Agent Steve Friend has worked for the law enforcement agency for 12 years. Agent Friend was suspended Monday, stripped of his gun and badge and escorted from the agency’s Daytona Beach, Florida, field office, according to the New York Post.
In the complaint filed with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Friend alleges violations of FBI policy in connection with Jan. 6 investigations he was involved with.
Friend says he was transferred from child sexual exploitation and human trafficking cases to concentrate on J6 cases issued from the Washington headquarters. He was reportedly told “domestic terrorism was a higher priority” than child pornography. He believes his child exploitation investigations were harmed, according to the Post report.
He joins almost two dozen whistleblowers alleging similar FBI wrongdoing. Friend told Republican Congress members the agency was politicizing justice.
“I have an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Friend reportedly told FBI supervisors, claiming conscientious objection status and refusing to join an August 24 raid on a J6 subject near Jacksonville, Florida. “I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector.”
Friend, whom the report noted did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, reportedly said he told his immediate boss twice that the raid was contrary to FBI policy. He added the raid also violated the subject’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial and Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Friend alleged in his whistleblower complaint, which the Post reportedly obtained a copy of, that:
- The Washington, D.C., field office is manipulating FBI case management protocol by farming out J6 cases to field offices nationwide to create the impression that right-wing domestic violence is a larger problem.
- Friend claims he was designated as lead agent for cases he had not investigated and for which his supervisor had not signed off on, which he notes violates FBI policy.
- The FBI is opening domestic terrorism cases against innocent American citizens based on anonymous hotline tips or from Facebook spying on their messages. These tips become part of investigative tools called “guardians,” after the FBI software that collates them, according to the Post.
- A grassy area outside the Capitol that was not restricted on Jan. 6, 2021, has been designated as such now by the FBI, to charge more people.
- The FBI intends to prosecute anyone remotely associated with J6, according to the complaint. Another wave of J6 subjects are about to be referred to the FBI’s Daytona Beach resident agency “for investigation and arrest,” according to Friend.
- Jacksonville received many “guardian” notifications and FBI agents were dispatched to conduct surveillance and knock on people’s doors. Some of the people contacted or surveilled were not in Washington, D.C., the day of the Capitol riot. Others had been to the Trump rally that day but did not enter the Capitol.
He first told his immediate boss, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Greg Federico, August 19, he considered it inappropriate to use an FBI SWAT team to arrest a subject for misdemeanor offenses. Friend noted the subject would likely face extended detainment and biased jury pools in Washington, D.C.
“I 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.”
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