Essentially, the FBI made Friend a supervisory agent in cases actually being run by the Washington field office, a trick replicated across the country that made domestic terrorism numbers appear to balloon overnight. Instead of one investigation run out of Washington, the Bureau now had hundreds of “terrorism” cases “opening” in every field office in the country. As a way to manipulate statistics, it was ingenious, but Friend could see it was also trouble.
As a member of a dying breed of agent raised to focus on making cases and securing convictions, Friend knew putting him nominally in charge of a case he wasn’t really running was a gift to any good defense attorney, should a J6 case ever get to trial.
“They’re gonna see my name as being the case agent, yet not a single document has my name as doing any work,” Friend says. “Now a defense lawyer can say, ‘Hey, the case agent for this case didn’t perform any work.’ Labeling the case this way would be a big hit to our prosecution.”
Friend ended up refusing the arrangement, which led to his suspension. He followed procedure, making protected disclosures to superiors and the FBI’s Office of Special Counsel (OSG). He then reported his suspension to Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and whistleblower-whisperer Chuck Grassley of Iowa. They sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, detailing Friend’s procedural objections, including that “agents are being required to perform investigative actions” they “would not otherwise pursue,” at the direction of the Washington Field Office (WFO).