FBI whistleblower says bureau broke its own rules, made Jan. 6 priority over child porn

Suspended FBI agent Steve Friend alleged on The Andrew Klavan Show podcast Friday that the FBI broke its own rules in making January 6 a higher priority than child pornography cases. 

Friend, who had worked in domestic terrorism, was suspended from the agency after expressing dismay at the treatment of those who had participated in the January 6 breach of the Capitol building.

He specifically objected to the use of flash bangs and SWAT teams to arrest non-violent trespassers for their actions on January 6.

Friend said he had arrested over 150 violent criminals in his career, but never used a SWAT team in those cases.

Overly aggressive

When he expressed his concerns, he said, “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.”

He was then sent home, and after a meeting with the special agent in charge, he was suspended and told he “represented a really fringe belief within the FBI.”

“Agents on the ground have agreed with my sentiments that we’re being overly aggressive,” Friend, who then became a whistleblower about the agency’s actions, said in response.

He also said it was against bureau rules to handle the January 6 cases out of Washington, D.C. rather than local field offices, as he observed was being done before his suspension.

“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.”

“Massive reform” needed

The inconsistencies and the gap between management and the field mean that the bureau needs “massive reform,” Friend said.

Other observers have also said that the FBI has become overly politicized, especially at the level of management and senior officials.

It will be a priority of any Republican leadership to investigate these whistleblower accounts and figure out how to turn things around within the bureau to prevent the further politicization of investigations and prosecutions.

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