An FBI whistleblower has reported to the Office of Special Counsel that he believes the bureau and Justice Department are violating the constitutional rights of Jan. 6 defendants, falsifying statistics on domestic extremism and misusing SWAT teams to make misdemeanor arrests, according to a copy of the complaint reviewed by Just the News.
Special Agent Stephen M. Friend, who works for the FBI in Florida and serves as a SWAT team member, told the main federal whistleblower office in Washington he had an “exemplary” work record since he joined the bureau in 2014 and even won awards but was suspended in recent days after he began raising concerns about the FBI’s and DOJ’s conduct in the Jan. 6 investigation
“I believed the investigations were inconsistent with FBI procedure and resulted in the violation of citizens’ Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights,” Friend wrote. “I added that many of my colleagues expressed similar concerns to me but had not vocalized their objections to FBI Executive Management.”
The FBI national press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent on Friday.
Friend said one of his many concerns is that the FBI is using SWAT teams to arrest Jan. 6 defendants facing misdemeanor charges, violating the bureau’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide and creating a potentially unsafe encounter.
“I responded that 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 D.C.,” Friend wrote in his whistleblower complaint. “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.”
The agent said when he suggested alternatives for arresting suspects in minor Jan. 6 cases one of his bosses “told me that FBI executive management considered all potential alternatives and determined the SWAT takedown was the appropriate course of action.”
Friend said he believes the Jan. 6 investigation has involved “overzealous charging by the DOJ and biased jury pools in Washington D.C.” and that the heavy-handed tactics smacked of prior FBI mistakes like the Ruby Ridge tragedy in the 1990s.
Friend also confirmed allegations first raised by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, that the FBI field office in Washington D.C. was opening Jan. 6 cases in other field offices across the country, creating a false data trail suggesting a nationwide problem with domestic violent extremism when in fact the cases all stemmed from the Capitol riot in the nation’s capital.
Friend said he was assigned Jan. 6 investigations for Florida and that one consequence of the data manipulation is that agents in field offices across the country are being listed as case agents for search and arrest warrants for subjects they actually had not investigated.
“There are active criminal investigations of J6 subjects in which I am listed as the ‘Case Agent,’ but have not done any investigative work,” Friend wrote in the complaint. “Additionally, my supervisor has not approved any paperwork within the file. J6 Task Force members are serving as Affiants on search and arrest warrant affidavits for subjects whom I have never investigated or even interviewed but am listed as a Case Agent.”
Another consequence, Friend said, is that agents are being told to deprioritize other investigations of serious crimes like child sex exploitation.
“I was also told that child sexual abuse material investigations were no longer an FBI priority and should be referred to local law enforcement agencies,” he wrote.
In an interview Friday, Jordan confirmed his office has had contact with Friend and that he expressed concerns about the deployment of FBI SWAT teams for misdemeanor cases.
“There’s other ways to do this, in this agent’s assessment of things, and he wanted to let our office know that,” Jordan told Just the News. “Again, I guess you step back and think of it for a second. There were other ways to deal with President Trump. I mean, for goodness sake.
“You had Joe Biden’s Justice Department raid the home of a former president, take the phone of a sitting member of Congress, call half the country fascists and extremists,” he added.
Reporting from Just the News.