FBI whistleblowers sound alarm on bureau’s link to secret agreement stripping gun rights
by Gabe Kaminsky, Investigative Reporter |
March 24, 2023 05:55 AM
EXCLUSIVE — FBI whistleblowers are raising concerns over the bureau’s involvement in a secret plea agreement conditioned by the U.S. government that stripped a defendant of the rights to own, buy, or even use firearms.
The FBI and Secret Service worked behind closed doors with an apparent prosecutor in 2019 to condition the signing of the form, which also stripped at least 60 people of their gun rights between 2011 and 2019, according to multiple Washington Examiner reports. Two FBI whistleblowers say the bureau’s actions in connection to the forms are yet the latest revelation of the politicization of agencies, an allegation at the heart of the newly launched GOP-led weaponization of the federal government subcommittee.
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“American tradition holds that our creator endows our citizens with certain unalienable rights,” Steve Friend, a former FBI special agent who was put on leave in August 2022 after taking issue with the bureau’s Jan. 6 Capitol riot investigations, told the Washington Examiner. “Government is instituted to protect these rights. The FBI and Secret Service have bastardized the social compact to achieve the opposite.”
“These actions to deny Americans Second Amendment rights are wholly unconstitutional and illegal,” added Friend, now a senior fellow at the Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank.
It remains unclear why the FBI or Secret Service were involved in the 2019 case, which was first revealed by the Washington Examiner on March 17. It’s also unclear why the form was used, which registered people into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and asked signatories to identify as a “danger” to themselves or others or lacking the “mental capacity adequately to contract” their lives.
Second Amendment lawyers and Republican members of Congress have pointed to the Gun Control Act of 1968 as evidence of the NICS form being “unconstitutional.” The act outlines that a person may be barred from owning guns if he or she “adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.”
However, the act does not say someone can rule themselves unfit to own guns. Moreover, the NICS form was not approved by the Office of Management and Budget through public comment, which is required prior to the government collecting information from the public.
Kyle Seraphin, an FBI whistleblower and agent until April 2022 who notably leaked information related to the Justice Department taking aim at parents on school boards, said the bureau’s internal form usage is an example of it going “rogue.”
“I think it 100% relates to that,” he told the Washington Examiner. “There’s no meaningful oversight by Congress. The FBI resists oversight whenever it wants to hide behind the guise of an ongoing investigation or national security — take your pick. And it refuses to reveal information that is necessary for oversight.”
“This happens all the time,” Seraphin added.
The FBI has continued to come under fire for obtaining signatures on the NICS forms, which were also fed to at least five hospitals and medical centers so they could use them on patients, the Washington Examiner reported on March 7. The facilities were located in New Hampshire, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma, documents show.
In December 2022, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and its affiliated weaponization subcommittee, said he was eyeing up subpoenas in connection to the forms. House Republicans vowed investigations into the forms last Congress but have been less vocal while in the majority.
“This is something we are absolutely looking into,” Russell Dye, a spokesman for Jordan, told the Washington Examiner.
The FBI declined a request for comment.