In The News
March 17, 2023

The Epoch Times

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General’s Office intends to interview former FBI special agent Steve Friend regarding allegations he has raised about the agency.

Friend further alleged that the FBI has departed from its everyday case management practices and has widely listed field offices around the country as the lead investigators in domestic violent extremism (DVE) cases while agency officials in Washington are actually directing the cases. Friend alleged the FBI had pressured its agents to prioritize these DVE cases, which created an inflated sense of the threat posed by domestic extremists. At the same time, Friend said the FBI had explicitly taken its focus off child sexual abuse cases, telling him that such cases are “no longer an FBI priority.”

On Monday, DOJ Assistant Inspector General Sean O’Neill responded to a March 6 letter by the whistleblower organization Empower Oversight, confirming the Office of the Inspector General “intends to schedule an interview with Mr. Friend regarding his disclosures.” Empower Oversight has been representing Friend throughout his raising allegations against the FBI.

Earlier this month, the Democratic minority on the House Judiciary released a report disputing the allegations raised by Friend and two other former FBI officials, George Hill and Garret O’Boyle.

The March 2 Democratic report disputed Republican characterizations of Friend, Hill, and O’Boyle as whistleblowers. Without that whistleblower status, the Democrats said Friend and the other former FBI officials do not qualify for protection from retaliation.

The Democrat report said Friend admitted to having no knowledge of a specific discussion by the FBI’s leadership to depart from its usual case and “could not clearly explain why such a departure might be harmful.” The report also said Friend has not reviewed the decision-making matrix for using SWAT teams during arrests and acknowledged the arrest targets of the Aug. 24 SWAT raid he opposed “were known by the FBI to be armed and dangerous.”

The minority report said the DOJ’s inspector general had already rejected Friend’s claims. Empower Oversight followed up on the DOJ inspector general’s handling of Friend’s claims, asking whether the Democratic claims that the DOJ had dismissed Friend’s allegations were valid.

“[O’Neill’s] letter corrects widely circulated false claims that the DOJ-OIG has ‘rejected’ Friend’s allegations and indicates that an interview of him will be scheduled shortly,” Empower Oversight wrote on Wednesday.

Read the full article HERE.