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Suspended FBI whistleblower balked at SWAT raids; ‘I have an oath to uphold the Constitution’

FBI Special Agent Steve Friend
by WorldTribune Staff, September 26, 2022

An FBI agent who refused to participate in SWAT raids he believed violated bureau policy was suspended after complaining to his supervisors that the FBI was exaggerating the threat of so called "right-wing" domestic terrorism, a report said.

FBI Special Agent Steve Friend, a 12-year veteran of the FBI and a SWAT team member, was stripped of his gun and badge, and escorted out of the FBI field office in Daytona Beach, Florida on Monday, Miranda Devine reported for the New York Post.

In a whistleblower complaint filed late Wednesday with the Department of Justice inspector general, Friend detailed an FBI field office that was "cooking the books to exaggerate the threat of domestic terrorism, and ­using an 'overzealous' January 6 ­investigation to harass conservative Americans and violate their constitutional rights," Devine noted.

“I have an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Friend told supervisors when he asserted his conscientious objection to joining an Aug. 24 raid on a Jan. 6 subject in the Jacksonville area. “I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector.”

Friend said he told his immediate boss twice that he believed the raid, and the investigative process leading up to it, violated FBI policy and the subject’s right under the Sixth Amendment to a fair trial and Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

In his whistleblower complaint to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, obtained by the Post, Friend detailed multiple violations of FBI policy involving Jan. 6 investigations in which he was involved.

Among Friend’s allegations:

• The Washington, D.C. field office is “manipulating” FBI case management protocol and farming out J6 cases to field offices across the country to create the false impression that right-wing domestic violence is a widespread national problem that goes far beyond the “black swan” event of Jan. 6, 2021.

• As a result, he was listed as lead agent in cases he had not investigated and which his supervisor had not signed off on, in violation of FBI policy.

• FBI domestic terrorism cases are being opened on innocent American citizens who were nowhere near the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, based on anonymous tips to an FBI hotline or from Facebook spying on their messages. These tips are turned into investigative tools called “guardians,” after the FBI software that collates them.

• The FBI has post-facto designated a grassy area outside the Capitol as a restricted zone, when it was not restricted on Jan. 6, 2021, in order to widen the net of prosecutions.

• The FBI intends to prosecute everyone even peripherally associated with J6 and another wave of J6 subjects are about to be referred to the FBI’s Daytona Beach resident agency “for investigation and arrest.”

• The Jacksonville area was “inundated” with “guardian” notifications and FBI agents were dispatched to conduct surveillance and knock on people’s doors, including people who had not been in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021, or who had been to the Trump rally that day but did not go ­inside the Capitol.

"This American hero, the father of two small children, has blown up his 'dream career' because he could not live with his conscience if he continued to be part of what he sees as the unjust persecution of conservative Americans," Devine wrote.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan has noted that 14 separate FBI whistleblowers have come forward with allegations that range from improperly targeting parents as domestic terrorists to politicizing investigative decisions.

Jordan said the allegations Friend brought raised serious concern that unnecessary force has been used to arrest conservatives accused of minor crimes and resources have been diverted from other crimes to create a false portrait about the state of domestic violent extremism in the country to fit the Biden administration's narrative.

The whistleblowers came to his office to "say they were being pressured by their superiors to catalog cases as DVEs, domestic violent extremism cases when they weren't," Jordan said.

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