F.B.I. Revokes Security Clearances of 3 Agents Over Jan. 6 Issues

F.B.I. Revokes Security Clearances of 3 Agents Over Jan. 6 Issues

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has revoked the security clearances of three agents who either participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, 2021 Capitol riots or later expressed views about it that questioned their “loyalty to the United States,” the bureau said Wednesday in a letter to congressional investigators.

The letter, written by a top FBI official, came a day before at least two of the agents — Marcus Allen and Stephen Friend — were due to testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee investigating what Republicans call “arming” the federal government against conservatives .

For several months, Republican lawmakers have courted FBI agents who they believe support their claims that the FBI and other federal agencies were targeting former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters both before and after the attack on the Capitol have turned.

Some of the agents posed as self-proclaimed whistleblowers and took steps such as writing a letter to FBI leadership complaining about how the FBI discriminates against conservatives.

According to congressional investigators, the agents who had their security clearances revoked — Mr. Allen, Mr. Friend and a third man, Brett Gloss — have all been suspended by the FBI while the FBI reviews their cases.

Attorneys for Mr. Allen and Mr. Friend did not respond to messages seeking comment. A lawyer for Mr. Gloss was not immediately available.

Mr Gloss’ non-disclosure permit was revoked two weeks ago after FBI investigators found he entered a restricted area of ​​the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 when he was moving with the pro-Trump mob — a violation of federal law.

Although he has not been charged with any criminal activity, the FBI found that Mr Gloss provided “false and/or misleading information” about what he saw on Jan. 6 and whether he was in a restricted area that day, to the letter , sent by Christopher Dunham, Acting Deputy Director of the FBI, to Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and Chair of the Arms Subcommittee.

Mr Gloss denied witnessing any violence or being in the Capitol restricted area, but those statements did not match photographs he took on Jan. 6 or publicly available videos, the letter said. Mr Gloss also failed to report his presence near the Capitol, the letter said, even after being warned to do so by one of his superiors.

“Mr. “Gloss’s refusal to provide full, candid and truthful answers to lawful questions from security officials related to determining personnel safety or trustworthiness should result in an adverse clearance action,” the letter reads.

A spokesman for Mr Jordan, Russell Dye, described the FBI’s action as “a desperate attempt to salvage their reputation” which came “before brave whistleblowers testified about the agency’s politicized behavior and retaliatory actions against anyone who dares to express oneself”.

Mr. Allen’s top-secret security clearance was revoked after the office found that he had “expressed sympathy for any person or entity that advocates, threatens or uses violence or violence,” the letter said. FBI investigators found that months after the Capitol attack, Mr. Allen emailed several colleagues from his office account, urging them “to assist in pursuing any investigative requests or leads related to the events of 6 January to exercise the utmost caution and discretion”. , the letter said.

Mr. Allen also sent an email with a link to a website stating that “Federal law enforcement had to some extent infiltrated among the crowds gathered at the Capitol,” prompting Mr. Allen to comment that these alleged Fact “serious concerns” about the US government prompted participation in the insurgency.

FBI investigators also found that Mr. Allen, who filed a lawsuit against Mr. Wray last year to contest the initial suspension of his release, failed to provide relevant information about individuals to his colleagues investigating the riot who were allegedly involved in the attack, the letter said.

The letter said another agent asked Mr. Allen to conduct open-source research on a Jan. 6 suspect, he reported back that he had found no information that the person had been involved in criminal activity or have any “connection to terrorism”.

Based on Mr. Allen’s reports, the letter said the other agent closed the case, but it was later reinstated after another FBI official discovered publicly available information that indicated the objective of the investigation attacked police officers in the Capitol.

Mr Friend, whose security clearance was revoked on Tuesday, refused to take part in the January 6 SWAT arrest of a suspect on a misdemeanor charge last summer. Mr Friend had taken the position that the raid represented an excessive use of force.

“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Mr. Friend, a 12-year bureau veteran, told his superiors when he refused to take part in the operation on Aug. 24 in Jacksonville, Fla. “I have a moral objection and would like to be considered a conscientious objector.”

According to the Justice Department, as of Aug. 24, there was only one Jan. 6-related arrest in the Jacksonville area: that of Tyler Bensch, who was accused of being a member of a right-wing militia group linked to the Three Percenter Movement is .

What Mr. Friend left out of his report is that while Mr. Bensch was only charged with misdemeanor, documents in his case say he posted video of himself outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing body armor and wearing a gas mask and carrying a… AR-15 style rifle. The documents also say that witnesses later told the FBI they had seen photos of Mr. Bensch carrying a similar rifle at other times.

According to the letter, while communicating with his superiors about his refusal to cooperate in Mr. Bensch’s arrest, Mr. Friend presented “an alternative account of events at the US Capitol.”

The letter also noted that in September 2022, Mr. Friend downloaded documents from FBI computer systems to “an unauthorized removable drive.” The letter did not specify what type of documents Mr. Friend took with him.


Alan Feuer