Whistleblower: FBI using ‘process’ to punish political foes

By Art Moore

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)
(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

An FBI whistleblower who was suspended after refusing to participate in SWAT team raids on Jan. 6 suspects alleges the bureau has been breaking its rules, using excessive tactics against people who may be innocent to ensure the “process is the punishment.”

Just the News reported special Agent Steven Friend said that in its investigation of the Jan. 6 riot, the bureau has been designing cases to exaggerate the threat of domestic terrorism in America.

“We took an oath, before our family and our friends and the Lord Almighty, and we are supposed to be people of integrity,” said Friend, whose security clearance has been suspended. “And if you are indeed a person of fidelity, bravery, integrity – the FBI motto – and you have to be willing to do things that aren’t easy, especially when they’re as simple as stepping up and pointing out when we are not meeting the standards that we have set out for ourselves.”

Friend’s complaint, obtained by Just the News, alleges the FBI is violating the Jan. 6 defendants’ 6th Amendment right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and 8th Amendment protection against imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment.

The agent says the FBI is inflating domestic extremism statistics in the nation by sending Jan. 6 Capitol riot cases to field offices instead of keeping them in Washington.

Last month, 30 former FBI agents, including SWAT team members, spoke out publicly in support of Friend, the New York Post reported.

“It’s time to stop the FBI from being the enforcer of a political party’s ideology,” said Ernie Tibaldi, a retired agent from San Francisco. “We need to re-establish the FBI as the apolitical and independent law enforcement entity that it always was.”

He commended Friend “for having the courage to stand up to the corruption that has taken over the leadership of the FBI.”

The bureau has been accused of using an greatly excessive show of force in its raids on the homes of pro-life activists and political figures, including former President Trump and former advisers Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro.

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Friend said he declined to participate in any more Jan. 6 cases, telling his supervisor he would be willing to do any other work. The FBI told Just the News it can’t comment on personnel matters, but “all FBI employees understand they are held to the highest standards because their work is critical to fulfilling our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution of the United States.”

Friend, who served for five years on an FBI SWAT team, has objected to the use of tactical teams to arrest Jan. 6 defendants when less intrusive and less dangerous methods are available.

“One of our considerations is there is an unnecessary risk of danger,” he said. “And I said, frankly, we’ve been fairly lucky that we haven’t created a Ruby Ridge scenario where somebody is coming back from a hunting trip, and then all of a sudden, there’s a tactical team at their door with a Bearcat. And that can be completely avoidable, especially if we have an open line of communication with this person, we’ve spoken to them, and they have counsel, and we could bring it to easy resolution.”

He charged that in some cases, the FBI in Washington has pursued people in the Jan. 6 probe without evidence of wrongdoing. He said he was ordered to visit a Florida man to inquire whether he went into the Capitol on Jan. 6. The man argued he could not have been there because he had attended his son’s funeral that day.

Friend charged the bureau’s investigations have been designed to be part of the penalty.

“I felt like there was an aspect to it, that was the punishment is the process,” he said. “You know, even if somebody eventually is either acquitted, or say they even plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and they wind up spending, you know, a month in incarceration, the very fact that a tactical team was coming up on their lawn with a Bearcat, and at six o’clock in the morning, potentially throwing flash-bangs in their house, and terrorizing their family and alerting the neighborhood like that. That just seemed to me like a little bit of an overkill.”

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