The Federal Bureau of Investigation has revoked the security clearances of three agents who either took part in the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or later expressed views about it that placed into question their “allegiance to the United States,” the bureau said on Wednesday in a letter to congressional investigators.
The letter, written by a top official at the F.B.I., came one day before at least two of the agents — Marcus Allen and Stephen Friend — were set to testify in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee investigating what Republicans contend is the “weaponization” of the federal government against conservatives.
For several months, Republican lawmakers have been courting F.B.I. agents who they believe support their contentions that the bureau and other federal agencies have been turned against former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters both before and after the Capitol attack.
Some of the agents have come forward as self-described whistle-blowers and taken steps like writing a letter to the leaders of the F.B.I. complaining about ways in which the bureau has discriminated against conservatives.
The agents who had their security clearances revoked — Mr. Allen, Mr. Friend and a third man, Brett Gloss — have all been suspended by the F.B.I. as the bureau reviews their cases, according to congressional investigators.
Lawyers for Mr. Allen and Mr. Friend did not respond to messages seeking comment. A lawyer for Mr. Gloss could not immediately be reached.
Mr. Gloss’s top-secret clearance was revoked two weeks ago after bureau investigators determined that while moving with the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, he entered a restricted area of the Capitol grounds — a violation of federal law.
While he has not been charged with any crimes, Mr. Gloss was found by the F.B.I. to have provided “false and/or misleading information” about what he saw on Jan. 6 and about whether he was in a restricted area that day, according to the letter, which was sent to Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the weaponization subcommittee, by Christopher Dunham, the F.B.I.’s acting assistant director.
Mr. Gloss denied witnessing violence or being in the restricted area at the Capitol, but those statements were inconsistent with photographs he took on Jan. 6 as well as with publicly available videos, the letter said. Mr. Gloss also failed to report his presence near the Capitol, the letter added, even after being warned by one of his supervisors to do so.
“Mr. Gloss’s refusal to provide full, frank and truthful answers to lawful questions of security officials in connection with a personnel security or trustworthiness determination should result in an adverse clearance action,” the letter said.
A spokesman for Mr. Jordan, Russell Dye, characterized the F.B.I.’s action as “a desperate attempt to salvage their reputation” that was coming “before brave whistle-blowers testify about the agency’s politicized behavior and retaliation against anyone who dares speak out.”
Mr. Allen’s top-secret security clearance was revoked after the bureau found that he had “expressed sympathy for persons or organizations that advocate, threaten or use force or violence,” the letter said. F.B.I. investigators determined that Mr. Allen had sent an email from his bureau account to several colleagues months after the Capitol attack, urging them to “exercise extreme caution and discretion in pursuit of any investigative inquiries or leads pertaining to the events of” Jan. 6, the letter said.
Mr. Allen also sent an email linking to a website stating that “federal law enforcement had some degree of infiltration among the crowds gathered at the Capitol,” leading Mr. Allen to comment that this supposed fact raised “serious concerns” about the U.S. government’s participation in the riot.
F.B.I. investigators also found that Mr. Allen, who filed a lawsuit against Mr. Wray last year contesting the initial suspension of his clearance, failed to provide relevant information to fellow agents investigating the riot about people who allegedly took part in the attack, the letter said.
The letter noted that when another agent asked Mr. Allen to conduct open source research about a Jan. 6 suspect, he reported back that he had found no information that the person had engaged in any criminal activity or had any “nexus to terrorism.”
Based on Mr. Allen’s reports, the letter said, the other agent closed the case, but it was later reopened after a different F.B.I. employee discovered publicly available information showing that the target of the inquiry had assaulted police officers at the Capitol.
Mr. Friend, whose security clearance was revoked on Tuesday, had refused last summer to take part in a SWAT arrest of a Jan. 6 suspect who was facing misdemeanor charges. Mr. Friend had taken the position that the raid represented an excessive use of force.
“I have an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Mr. Friend, a 12-year veteran of the bureau, told his supervisors when he declined to join the operation on Aug. 24 in Jacksonville, Fla. “I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector.”
According to Justice Department records, there was only one Jan. 6-related arrest in the Jacksonville area on Aug. 24: that of Tyler Bensch, who was accused of being a member of a right-wing militia group connected to the Three Percenter movement.
What Mr. Friend omitted from his account was that while Mr. Bensch was charged with only misdemeanors, documents in his case say that on Jan. 6, he posted a video of himself outside the Capitol wearing body armor and a gas mask and carrying an AR-15-style rifle. The documents also say that witnesses later told the F.B.I. that they had seen photographs of Mr. Bensch carrying a similar rifle at other times.
According to the letter, Mr. Friend “espoused an alternative narrative about the events at the U.S. Capitol” during his communications with his supervisors about refusing to participate in the arrest of Mr. Bensch.
The letter also noted that in September 2022, Mr. Friend downloaded documents from F.B.I. computer systems to “an unauthorized removable flash drive.” The letter did not specify what sorts of documents Mr. Friend had taken with him.
- F.B.I. Revokes Security Clearances of 3 Agents Over Jan. 6 Issues
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