From a raid at former President Donald Trump’s residence in Florida to the arrest of nearly a dozen pro-life advocates for protests at abortion clinics, there has been no shortage of evidence cited by conservatives indicating that the FBI is going after Americans based on personal ideologies.
Now, a whistleblower within the bureau appears to be confirming those suspicions.
FBI Special Agent Steve Friend has claimed that he was suspended and stripped of his security clearance for speaking out about behind-the-scenes behavior within the agency. Nevertheless, he continues to highlight what he insists are unconstitutional practices by federal law enforcement agents.
For starters, he wrote in a complaint that he sent to Congress that individuals jailed for their participation in the Jan. 6 demonstration on Capitol Hill last year have been deprived of their 6th and 8th Amendment protections.
He went on to assert that his name was listed as a managing agent for such suspects residing in Florida — even though the cases were actually being handled by agents in D.C.
In a recent interview, he said that such duplicity is “outside the rule” by which the FBI is supposed to operate.
“So I brought that to my supervisor’s attention about my concerns, about not following FBI rules,” Friend said. “I brought my concerns about potentially abusing power to him.”
Not only did he say it is a violation of bureau rules to list a managing agent who is not actually in charge of a case, but he said doing so could effectively stymie any ongoing investigation.
“I just could foresee a pretty easily avoidable or bad situation where Steve Friend is the case agent on John Smith, who’s being prosecuted for Jan. 6,” he added. “And then I’m put on the stand, because it’s my case. And you know, the defense attorney says, ‘Agent Friend, what did you do? You’re the case agent.’ And I would say, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ ‘Well, did you make this decision?’ ‘No, I didn’t.’ ‘Did your supervisor approve that?’ ‘No, he didn’t.’”
Considering the potential for confusion, Friend declared that it amounted to “a massive problem” for the FBI.
Aside from the impact on the bureau, he lamented the toll that such heavy-handed law enforcement has taken on Americans who might never actually face any criminal charges.
Friend recalled one interview with a suspect who was “dealing with the stress of talking to FBI agents in a law office,” explaining that even if no indictment ever resulted, the individual would have likely incurred legal fees, emotional distress, and untold personal hardships.
“If that gentleman doesn’t get charged with a crime, he’s still out, you know, having to pay his attorney,” the agent concluded. “And he expressed to us he was going to be out of a job because his employer was upset with him being involved at all. So that’s somebody whose life was completely turned upside down and that doesn’t even begin to know if he’s going to be sitting in an orange jumpsuit at some point.”