Watchdog group files FOIA requests for records on alleged DOJ retaliation against FBI whistleblower
Federal law enforcement and the DOJ have faced a bevy of whistleblower claims, both before and after the Aug. 8, 2022, raid on former President Donald Trump's estate.
A watchdog group is seeking records from the Department of Justice and the FBI in connection with whistleblower claims an agent made asserting that the FBI was overusing SWAT teams and overreporting cases of domestic extremism.
Empower Oversight filed two Freedom of Information Act requests, the first of which seeks documents in connection with the bureau's alleged retaliation against whistleblower Special Agent Stephen Friend.
The second seeks materials related to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General's decision not to investigate Friend's claims.
Empower Oversight said that President Jason Foster stated in a press release that "Special Agent Friend did exactly what he was supposed to do when he witnessed the FBI's improper deviation from its normal procedures and its excessive use of risky SWAT teams for what he believed were non-operational reasons."
"Not everyone has the courage to blow the whistle when they encounter wrongdoing in government. Those who do deserve to be protected, not punished. These disclosures ought to be impartially investigated by the Inspector General, and Special Agent Friend should be treated fairly by the FBI," he continued.
Federal law enforcement and the DOJ have faced a bevy of whistleblower claims, both before and after the Aug. 8, 2022, raid on former President Donald Trump's estate. Many of those claims have addressed alleged political bias in the handling of sensitive investigations.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, in the wake of the raid, issued a memo to DOJ employees reminding them that they were required to address Congress through the Office of Legislative Affairs. The memo prompted allegations that the DOJ was attempting to discourage whistleblowers, which it denied.