An FBI whistleblower has come forward to say he lost his badge for declining to participate in a SWAT raid on the home of a suspect in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion.
FBI Special Agent Steve Friend believes this treatment of Americans in no way matches the alleged crimes.
The New York Post reported that Friend filed a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Justice on Wednesday contending the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office has become politicized using an “overzealous” Jan. 6 investigation to harass conservatives and violate their basic constitutional rights.
The 37-year-old pointed out the raids are being conducted on Jan. 6 subjects who have mainly been accused of misdemeanor crimes such as parading on the Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct.
Friend, who said he did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race, refused to participate in an Aug. 24 raid on a Jan. 6 subject in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, saying he was a “conscientious objector.”
“I have an oath to uphold the Constitution,” he told supervisors.
On Aug. 19, the agent first told his immediate 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,” according to the Post.
“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,” Friend said.
He was suspended Monday, “stripped of his gun and badge, and escorted out of the FBI field office in Daytona Beach, Fla.,” after he was declared absent without leave when he did not show up to participate in the Aug. 24 raid, the Post said.
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
In his whistleblower complaint to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, obtained by the Post, Friend laid out multiple violations of FBI policy relating to the Jan. 6 investigations.
He identified “manipulating” of FBI case management protocol and farming out of Jan. 6 cases to field offices across the country to build the case that right-wing domestic violence is a widespread, ongoing problem, instead of mainly related to one incident.
Further, Friend alleged that cases were being opened on innocent Americans who were nowhere near the Capitol based on anonymous tips.
He further said the FBI, post-facto, designated the grassy area outside the Capitol as a restricted area — though it was not on Jan. 6, 2021 — in order to increase the number of people subject to prosecution.
Friend warned that the bureau intends to prosecute Americans even peripherally associated with Jan. 6, with a new wave of subjects being dropped in field offices.
The Post’s Miranda Devine, who wrote the Friend story, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night that Friend “is an American hero.”
“He had the dream job. He’s been with the FBI for 12 years. He’s a SWAT team member,” she said.
“But he just could not live with his conscience after he was dragged off these very important child porn, child exploitation, human trafficking investigations that he was working on and put on these really bogus Jan. 6 cases that just serve to, I guess, back up the rhetoric that we’re hearing from the White House that domestic terrorism is the worst threat to America since the Civil War,” Devine said.
The Divine “The special agent still serving who was suspended on Monday he’s an American hero,”
Whistleblower Steve Friend has contacted the Inspector General and House Republicans. pic.twitter.com/AfhLapGORK
— RealRobert (@Real_RobN) September 22, 2022
It’s worth noting that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas asked then-FBI Assistant Executive Director Jill Sanborn in January, “How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?”
“Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn answered.
CRUZ: “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th?”
“I can’t answer that.” pic.twitter.com/UgD9mQVLkP
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) January 11, 2022
She also declined to answer Cruz’s follow-up question about whether any FBI agents or informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6.
If one wants an insight into the raids the FBI has been conducting on Jan. 6 subjects’ homes, actor and producer Nick Searcy documented the experience well in his 2021 film “Capitol Punishment.”
It is “a movie about what the FBI and the Department of Justice is doing to patriotic, faithful Americans who have never been arrested for anything else, who went to Washington on Jan. 6 to make their voices heard,” Searcy said in an interview following the release of the movie.
One of the cases he highlighted was that of Derek Kinnison, who the filmmaker said had no criminal record and did not even go into the Capitol. The DOJ charged the Californian with being on the grounds and obstructing an official proceeding.
Kinnison recounted in “Capitol Punishment” that on Feb. 19, 2021, at 6:02 a.m. a BearCat tactical vehicle rolled into his neighborhood with FBI agents dressed in combat gear.
A loudspeaker then announced that the FBI had a search warrant for the home and ordered the occupants to come out with their hands up immediately.
“You would expect them to call,” Searcy said. “Give him a phone call and say, ‘We’d like to talk to you.’ Right? But no, they do this on purpose, because they’re trying to terrorize.”
“By driving these armored vehicles and all these SWAT team members into these little neighborhoods, they are not only terrorizing Derek and his family, they are sending a message to his community, to all of his neighbors, that ‘This is a dangerous person here,'” Searcy said.
In the case of Felipe Antonio Martinez, who also did not enter the Capitol, the FBI rolled up to his California home in the early morning and gave him 60 seconds to open the door.
Agents smashed Martinez’s sliding glass door in the back of the house.
His teenage daughter told Searcy that the feds deployed two concussion grenades and handcuffed her during the raid.
So Friend is right. Americans do not deserve this kind of treatment from their government for merely exercising their constitutional rights.
Bravo to him and other whistleblowers who are deciding enough is enough.