No mainstream media journalist interviewed the FBI whistleblowers before demonizing them
The FBI whistleblowers who testified before Congress last week are far-right, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists, and anti-vaxxers who lost their security clearances because they stole sensitive documents and supported Donald Trump’s coup attempt on January 6, 2021, the FBI and the news media are suggesting. Proof that they are scam artists, claimed reporters, comes from the fact that a top Trump donor and a right-wing think tank are paying them.
But there is no evidence any of them stole sensitive documents, adhered to Q-Anon conspiracy theories, or supported the January 6 Capitol riot, much less an attempt to overthrow the government.
The FBI’s deputy director said in a letter to Congress that one of the men, Stephen Friend, had used a flash drive to download data in a way that violated the rules. The FBI didn’t mention that the downloaded information was the FBI employee handbook, which is not classified or confidential. It was the kind of infraction that warrants an email from a supervisor, not an investigation.
As for the payment from a Trump donor, it was $5,000, and it was a donation, like one of many that members of the public sent after Friend was suspended and not allowed to work.
“I never met [the donor] Kash Patel,” said Friend. “I’m not proud to have to accept charity. But when I got married, I promised to take care of her. I don’t think any man is proud to accept charity, but I’m certainly grateful to live in a country where people are generous enough to take care of those who are on hard times.”
All three of the FBI whistleblowers we interviewed are indeed conservative; one works for a conservative think tank; at least one, if not all, decided not to get vaccinated against Covid; and another attended the January 6 protest, but never entered the Capitol.
Neither a person’s political beliefs nor their personal medical decisions should be relevant when the FBI evaluates someone for a job. The FBI whistleblower who attended the January 6 protest says there was no indication that the public area near the Capitol was a restricted zone.
What about Q-Anon? “I’ve never actually looked up what it is,” said Friend. What about Covid conspiracy-mongering? Friend admits to writing an article that was “Tongue-in-cheek with snark pointing out absurdities like ‘Hey, you have to wear the mask when you’re walking to your seat but not while eating.’”
Having read the background material, including the FBI’s accusations, and interviewed the whistleblowers at length, it’s clear that the FBI whistleblowers who testified last week are what they appear to be: sincere, disciplined, and successful FBI agents whom the FBI is persecuting because they blew the whistle on abuses of power within the law enforcement agency.
What’s more, none of the news media attacking the FBI whistleblowers have actually interviewed the FBI whistleblowers, as shocking as that sounds. “The New York Times never asked for an interview?” I pressed. “No,” said Friend. “What about the Washington Post?” I asked. “No, no. No Washington Post.”
Friend added, “During Hurricane Ian, we had no cell service, no power, nothing, and then I get reception and my phone exploded, and my attorney said, ‘Hey, The New York Times reached out for comment on the fact that you’re unvaccinated and under investigation for shooting a firearm in your backyard.”
But the rumor about shooting a gun in his backyard was false. It appears to have stemmed from an unrelated, non-criminal incident by a different whistleblower.
After Friend told the Times what happened, the newspaper ignored his story.
“The Times never called and asked for an interview about the substance of your claims?” I asked
“No, they’ve never done that.”
“What about CBS? NBC? Any of the big media? Nobody?”
“BBC reached out a week ago,” he said, “but I had a conflict.”
I was incredulous. “They didn’t follow up?”
We already wrote about the FBI whistleblowers being attacked by the FBI and Democrats in Congress last week. But given the plain intention by the FBI and the news media to continue their unscrupulous defamation campaign, which can accurately be labeled “disinformation” under their own definition of the term, we decided to take a closer look at their cases. What we discovered shocked and disturbed us.
Categories: State Repression, Surveillance
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