Steve Friend, who was a domestic terrorism investigator before being suspended, told the host of “The Andrew Klavan Show” that the FBI broke its own rules when investigating January 6 cases and arrested people without enough evidence. He also explained how one of his superiors told him that January 6 was a higher priority than pursuing child pornography cases.
“When I was moved over to from my child exploitation cases, the assistant special agent in charge even mentioned that he felt that child pornography was going to be a local issue and that domestic terrorism, specifically January 6th, was the higher priority,” Friend said.
The whistleblower added that when he started getting involved on January 6 cases, he noticed that they were “more or less being directed from Washington, D.C.,” even though local field offices usually call most of the shots on cases. Friend explained that this was “inconsistent with FBI rules.”
“So we have very specific rules when it comes to having cases open once they’re opened and assigned to a specific field office,” Friend told Klavan. “And there’s agents or task force officers who are running that case. It’s really their responsibility to be able to carry the case forward and make all the investigative decisions.”
Bending the rules wasn’t the only way the bureau took January 6 investigations too far, according to Friend. The whistleblower also said that the FBI treated non-violent protesters unfairly. Friend told Klavan that he has arrested 150 violent criminals over the course of his career, and has never used a SWAT team, but when arresting an alleged Capitol rioter whose biggest crime was entering the building and taking a brochure, the FBI used flash bangs and breached his home at 6 a.m.
The FBI agent brought up his concerns with his colleagues, but said he was resisted. “They pushed back on me and said I was being a bad teammate. They said that I was being insubordinate. Even brought up the fact that, you know, what’s my future going to be with the FBI despite having my work reputation being really good,” Friend explained to Klavan.
Friend was sent home and then later suspended after a meeting with the special agent in charge who told him that he “represented a really fringe belief within the FBI.”
But that “fringe belief” is more common than what leaders in the bureau are saying, Friend remarked.
“Agents on the ground have agreed with my sentiments that we’re being overly aggressive,” the whistleblower said of pursuing alleged January 6 rioters. According to Friend, the gap between management and the field within the FBI is proof that “massive reform” is needed at the headquarters.
“I think that the mindset there is really the problem,” he said. “The rank and file people just want to put bad guys in jail.”