Brian Shephard had a long and storied career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
From 1972 to 2006 he worked cases involving both domestic criminals and Soviet spies in the United States.
One of the cases he worked on involving a whistleblower at Archer Daniels Midland Co. in Decatur, Illinois, served as the basis of the 2000 nonfiction book The Informant, which in 2009 was made into a movie starring Matt Damon,
But some of the activities of the FBI in recent years have shaken him to his core.
In an interview with WVW TV, Shephard pointed to two FBI raids involving the arrest of Roger Stone in January 2019 and the search of the home of Project Veritas journalist James O'Keefe last week.
He discussed the raids with journalist Brannon Howse and both men agreed there could be no legitimate reason for the FBI to conduct such an action against a non-violent person.
"I was on the SWAT team for several years," said Shephard, appearing with three other retired FBI agents at a symposium aired by WVW TV on Nov. 16. "And I can tell you from my experience, and I think all others of the bureau agents here would echo what I'm going to say. We never conducted a search or conducted an arrest of someone who was not a violent offender. And the thought when I heard about what happened with Roger Stone, just outraged me so much that, it just rose up inside me."
He said what happened to Roger Stone was no fluke. A predawn raid of this nature would have been conducted for a very specific reason, most likely to send a message.
"He was not a violent criminal. He was a white collar criminal if anything. I am not here to judge his criminal liability. I'm not here to do that. I'm here to say, the tactics that were used, were outrageous. And if I had been on the SWAT Team, and told these are the tactics we're going to use, I would say, not me. I'm not going to do that. I always felt good about what we were going to do, that it was going to make America safer."
Here's how CBS News reported the raid on Stone's house outside of Washington, D.C., an elderly man who did not own a gun and whose wife suffers from cancer.
With guns drawn, FBI agents in combat gear and night-vision equipment fanned out just before dawn Friday in front of the Florida home of President Trump's former campaign adviser, Roger Stone.
"FBI! Open the door!" one agent commanded as he repeatedly pounded on the door in a video of the raid broadcast on CNN. "FBI warrant!"
Moments later, a light came on on the second floor. Stone appeared in the doorway in sleepwear with his glasses on.
All charges against Stone were eventually dropped, in return for him not talking about the case.
"In return he was gagged," said Howse. "He lost his radio show, he lost his house, he lost his savings. They destroyed the man. I wouldn't say they destroyed him because Roger refuses to be destroyed, but they took a lot from him."
"And that shouldn't happen to anyone in America," Shephard said. "If he had been someone who had a history of violent behavior, was a flight risk, those are the things you use a SWAT team for. It's a dangerous situation. And to go into anyone's home. And I've heard about that in several other recent cases, and again it just outrages me. Knowing the bureau's resources are being used for these types of arrests is absolutely [wrong]."
"So why is it being done?" Howse asked. "Is it just to intimidate the public? CNN in tow with them, to set a narrative for the American people?"
"Absolutely," said Shephard. "It's the only conclusion I can come to."
Shephard said bringing the media in to make a public spectacle of an arrest is just something that wasn't done when he was with the FBI.
"We always used local law enforcement before the search or the arrests. We'd tell the police chief and he'd give a couple of squads where they'd block off the streets. And if there was any media out there, it wouldn't have happened until we cleared. It was going to be clear."
He said everything the FBI does is for a purpose.
"In the FBI there are no coincidences. Things happen for reasons. That's part of the whole culture problem in the bureau, and it has to be nipped from above," he said. "You get your leadership from above."
Howse said the purpose would have been for propaganda and intimidation. Shephard agreed.
"None of those three things that we lived by – bravery, fidelity and integrity. None of those three things are present in situations like that. You can' have integrity if you're going to tip off the news media, and you're going to knock on somebody's door and knock it down at 6 o'clock in the morning when there's no reason to. There're not drug people, they're not going to get rid of drugs, they're not going to have weapons."
He said SWAT raids and no-knock warrants are typically reserved for very violent criminals.
But the raids against Stone and more recently against O'Keefe seemed more like the nation's top federal law enforcement agency making a political statement.
"There's nothing you can show a judge to issue your warrant that would authorize you to do those kinds of things," Shephard said. "So people that would be involved, who know what it takes to get those kinds of warrants, get absolutely bothered by it. Those are the kinds of things that don't leave your mind. It just can't happen here. And why it continues to happen, as you said Brannon, there's some other purpose going on. And you can draw your own conclusion as to what is going on, and I've drawn my own conclusions."
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