A former FBI agent slammed the bureau Tuesday for wasting taxpayer money after receiving a document from an alleged field office insider in New Jersey, which announced a “wellness room” that includes massage recliners, lounge furniture, and a yoga space for employees.
Steve Friend, a former FBI agent and current senior fellow for the Center for Renewing America, tweeted two photos sent to him by an apparent insider at the bureau’s Newark Field Office that shows a memo announcement from the Health & Wellness Committee and a sign of self-care “reminders” outside the wellness room.
Friend, who was suspended after making a whistleblower complaint about the Department of Justice, slammed the bureau in his tweet, saying, “this is not a serious law enforcement agency.”
“I definitely see a value in activities that could build morale, but I don’t think that it should be done on the taxpayer’s time and dime,” Friend told The Daily Wire. “And when you see things like massage chairs being made available to federal employees to have access to during their workday — as a taxpayer myself, I find that insulting.”
According to the document posted by Friend, a Newark Wellness Committee volunteer issued the memo citing the mission statement and how to enhance the bureau’s so-called culture of excellence to maintain current and retired employees’ physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
“The Wellness Committee seeks to encourage employees to prioritize their physical, emotional, and mental health by offering a wellness space, program, and resources,” the document reads. “The Committee will support employees in their development and maintenance of healthy and positive habits that increase their overall wellbeing.”
Aside from massage chairs, lounge furniture, and open space for yoga and relaxing, the Wellness Room will also have broadcast equipment for wellness-related programs and speakers. But before entering the safe space, agents are reminded to care for themselves by taking breaks, exploring their feelings, and that “It’s OK to have bad and unproductive days.”
BONUS! Here is a sign posted outside the @FBI wellness room. This is not a serious law enforcement agency. At best the FBI is an insult to the taxpayer. At worst, an enemy. @Weaponization pic.twitter.com/HFKoK5PO89
— Steve Friend (@RealStevefriend) February 21, 2023
Emotional wellness became a prolific focus for bureau officials during the pandemic, and the program itself comes off the heels of a recent trend, Friend said, that pushes FBI employees to be “kinder, gentler,” which the former federal agent noted extends beyond the field office in New Jersey.
The bureau had also reduced its physical fitness standards to bring in a broader pool of individuals who typically fail to meet those requirements, Friend said, that he had to pass before he became an agent, which took approximately four years and involved a multitude of comprehensive background checks, a polygraph examination, physical fitness test, as well as a medical physical examination.
“It is a contentious point, I know, within the rank and file that’s been raised a lot,” Friend said.
FBI Whistleblower Kyle Seraphin, who spent six years in the bureau working in counterterrorism and counterintelligence, was officially suspended indefinitely and without pay in June 2022 after he complained of allegedly questionable activity within the bureau and refused to comply with its COVID vaccine mandate.
Seraphin told The Daily Wire that the wellness program emulates the “worst and weakest parts of the Woke corporate culture.”
“When the work you do is honorable and rewarding, you don’t need a Wellness Room set aside to gather your thoughts,” Seraphin said. “That used to be called ‘your lunch break.’ But when you hire people whose work doesn’t actually impact the rewarding mission of law enforcement and simply exists for its own sake — perhaps they need to detox from the cognitive dissonance of ‘federal service’ being a federal jobs program.”
The Daily Wire reached out to the FBI Newark Field Office for comment Tuesday.