Former FBI Agent Who Refused To Raid Jan 6 Suspect Warns of Agency’s Weaponization

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

FBI agent Stephen Friend had transferred from Iowa to Florida when he came face to face with the initiatives by the FBI to proactively hunt down and use force to jail rioters who were wanted in conjunction with the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was asked by the FBI why he wouldn’t want to hunt down those who had “killed police officers” at the Capitol that day.

The question, its justification, and its accuracy were equally troubling when they were presented to Friend by an FBI superior on Aug. 23, 2022. “I responded back that no police officers were killed by any of the individuals who were charged with the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Friend recalled.

At that time, Friend had just lodged a complaint against what he saw as heavy-handed tactics being planned against Jan. 6 suspects in Florida. Sitting with an FBI assistant special agent in charge, he had to correct some of the misinformation that was being used to justify those tactics, the Epoch Times reported in an exclusive interview with Friend.

“There was this pause on his part for a few seconds, like that was new information to him,” Friend recalled in an interview with The Epoch Times. “That was never anything that crossed his mind.”

Special Agent Friend was concerned about the FBI’s plans to use a tactical team to arrest a misdemeanor Jan. 6 suspect who had already been in contact with the FBI. He was interviewed by FBI agents. Yet plans were set to go in heavy for his arrest. That kind of force against a nonviolent subject raised constitutional issues in Friend’s mind.

“I expressed that I have an oath of office,” Friend said during filming for an upcoming Epoch Times Jan. 6 documentary. “And while I’m aware that an arrest warrant is a legal order from a judge, I have an oath to protect the Constitution. I felt that us being outside the rules with following our case procedures was a potential breach of the Sixth Amendment for due process,” Friend said.

Being an FBI special agent was Friend’s dream job. After earning a degree at the University of Notre Dame, he worked law enforcement for four years before joining the FBI in 2014.

Former FBI Special Agent Stephen Friend at his Daytona Beach, Fla., home on Oct. 28, 2022. (Paulio Shakespeare/The Epoch Times)

But Friend said he was told he was being a “bad team member” and should not report for work the next day. Then he was counted as absent without leave (AWOL). In short order, his security clearance was suspended. On Sept. 19, 2022, he was suspended from his job. His income dropped to zero. He was not allowed to seek outside work.

Friend’s objections were just the beginning of his issues with the FBI. Friend had moved his family to Florida primarily to work on human trafficking investigations. The sexual trafficking of minors and young adults has exploded into an urgent national crisis, he said, but he was reassigned from that role to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), investigating and hunting down Jan. 6 suspects.

He is calling out the FBI’s effort that he believes was employed to create the illusion that “domestic terrorism” is a much bigger issue than it actually is.

“They’ve chosen to open hundreds of cases and then spread them around the country,” Friend said. “That gives the impression that domestic terrorism is a nationwide threat, when really the numbers the FBI is touting stem from one incident on one day. “That’s a problem for the country,” he said. “The FBI is supposed to stand for law and order, but instead we’re raising the temperature.”

The Epoch Times asked the FBI to comment on Friend’s case, but did not receive a reply by press time. but the FBI is commenting on Friend’s new book.

The FBI, however, expressed some significant concerns about Friend’s forthcoming book, “True Blue: My Journey from Beat Cop to Suspended FBI Whistleblower.” In an emailed letter to Friend dated April 21, the FBI demanded redactions on 36 pages of his book, including all the contents on Pages 85-110. Friend said he has no plans to redact his book.

“Your manuscript was reviewed pursuant to the terms of the [Prepublication Review Policy] and we concluded some of the information presented falls within a restricted area of disclosure,” wrote Joseph E. Bender Jr., acting chief of the FBI Record/Information Dissemination Section. “Prepublication approval is contingent upon removal of the redacted information as shown in the attached version. There is no objection to the remainder of your work, as presented.”

Friend said he is equally disturbed by how the “process” of Jan. 6 cases ends up punishing every suspect before they ever get a day in court, the Epoch Times reports.

“For many people who are being interviewed by the FBI, there’s no case to be built against them for January 6,” he said. “It might be stemming from an anonymous tip, where there’s no cell phone GPS information, no facial recognition software. The FBI is still knocking on that person’s door. That’s an undue stress for anybody.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.






Send this to a friend