Information Courtesy of KSL-TV
In 2011 KSL-TV out of Utah conducted a year-long investigation of the FBI Field Office in Salt Lake City regarding security violations. The alleged violations had been first reported by a special agent in Phoenix and alleged a leak of classified information that could threaten national security. Greg Bretzing, now out of the FBI’s Portland, OR. branch and current Special Agent in Charge of the Malhuer Occupation and LaVoy Finicum shooting was an Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the time of the investigation. The report prompted the Salt Lake City field office to begin re-evaluating its security procedures, according to sources inside the FBI. Security clearance procedures were reassessed to ensure each individual had the appropriate credentials and access.
The story detailed allegations of multiple violations of internal FBI policies, including lax oversight of classified documents stored inside the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office; violations of policies that govern the issuance and use of FBI credentials; the failure to enforce rules that restrict access to areas where classified documents are kept; and concerns that high-level FBI officials may have covered up a formal complaint of security violations. The FBI declined to officially comment on any of the allegations.
Nearly a dozen self-described whistleblowers — including those with strong ties to the FBI’s Salt Lake field office — have come forward to expose potentially serious security breaches, including the removal of classified documents from the office contrary to strict FBI protocol. The whistleblowers were interviewed as part of the yearlong investigation which was able to corroborate much of what each source reported by conducting individual interviews without the knowledge of other sources. The sources provided details of multiple violations of internal FBI policies, including lax oversight of highly classified documents stored inside the Salt Lake City office’s Secret Compartmented Information Facility; the failure to enforce rules that restrict access to areas where classified documents are kept; violations of policies that govern the issuance of FBI credentials; and concerns that high-level FBI officials may have covered up a formal complaint of security violations.
“The actions that Salt Lake City is taking definitely could jeopardize national security,” one FBI source said. “That’s a big problem. That’s a huge problem with catastrophic consequences.””[that] turned that place upside down,” an FBI source said “It [was] pandemonium.” “It’s a huge deal,” another FBI source said. “We’re talking about the pinnacle of law enforcement. And they’ve got corruption inside their own office.”Special Agent in Charge James McTighe and the two assistant special agents in charge, Ken Porter and Greg Bretzing, were said to be visibly concerned. Dan Ward, the special agent in charge of security, was reportedly just as worried.
These individuals spoke on the condition that their identities be protected. “There is a severe problem with the Salt Lake office,” one source told KSL. “None of them will come forward because they know the FBI will come after them with a vengeance.” “People are afraid,” another FBI source said. “People are afraid to say anything. This has been going on for years.”
Sources who worked in Salt Lake field say concerns about security were heightened when the FBI granted high-level credentials to certain non-FBI task force members. In a specific example, all cite the credentials provided to Utah State fraud investigator Shane Tiernan, when he was appointed to an FBI-led task force on health care and then the violent crimes task force. Those sources said Tiernan was given an FBI Secure Access Control System key card, known as a SACS badge. This type of badge is considered a high-level credential, usually allowing 24-hour access to the FBI field office. Sources say however, Tiernan frequently wore his FBI-issued SACS badge and allegedly was allowed to maintain his credentials even after he left public service.
“He had credentials after he was off the task force and during the time he was a civilian employee. He was in another state working as a civilian. When he returned to Utah, he still had those credentials, which is a direct violation of FBI policy,” said a former state investigator who worked with Tiernan. “Shane Tiernan knows about the improprieties of the FBI,” said one source knowledgeable of the FBI probe. “The FBI’s not going to do anything to him. The FBI will never besmirch his name because he’ll turn around and take down the supervisors that he knew.” One such alleged improper practice involves an agent “loaning” an FBI-issued automatic firearm to Tiernan for a period of one year, according to three separate sources who worked with Tiernan at the time.
In light of the controversy surrounding the shooting of LaVoy Finicum and considering the other allegations of impropriety, corruption and political incest and nepotism surrounding key individuals of the Government, Judge Ann Aiken, Judge Stephen Grasty, Sheriff Dave Ward, involved with the Malhuer Occupation, this revelation is troubling in the extreme.