WASHINGTON — An agent with DEA posed for photographs in which he flashed his DEA badge and firearm outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, according to a court filing Tuesday following the agent’s arrest.
Moreover, Mark Sami Ibrahim was seen in a video posted on the internet carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the Capitol, about 12 minutes before a mob of people pulled apart a nearby set of barricades, according to authorities.
Ibrahim, 32, was a probationary employee of the DEA. He was on personal leave when he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6. Several weeks before the riot, the man from Orange County, California had reportedly given notice of his intention to resign, KTLA reported.
The George Washington University’s program on extremism reported the agent’s participation in the riot, according to the Washington Examiner.
The agent allegedly relayed some of the pictures to a police group chat that contained at least five other law enforcement personnel. One of the individuals asked Ibrahim if he was carrying his badge and gun.
“Question Mark, you are carrying your duty weapon and your badge/creds? I need to know this mark,” the unnamed officer said.
After the events transpired, Ibrahim was interviewed by authorities, and he admitted to being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, though he “denied that he displayed or exposed his DEA badge and firearm,” investigators said.
“I had my creds. I had my firearm and my badge on me … but never exposed. … Not that I know of,” Ibrahim said, according to the Examiner.
He reportedly claimed he was there to help a friend who had been asked to document the event for the FBI.
The friend denied the story saying Ibrahim created it to “cover his ass,” according to a case summary signed by senior special agent with the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
“According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim went to the rally in order to promote himself,” the OIG agent wrote. “Ibrahim had been thinking about his next move after leaving the DEA and wanted the protests to be his stage for launching a ‘Liberty Tavern’ political podcast and cigar brand.”
Although Ibrahim denied displaying or exposing his DEA badge and firearm while in attendance at the Capitol, DOJ has photos to contrary, authorities say.
Ibrahim was arrested Tuesday in Washington. He faces charges that include entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm and making a false statement when he denied that he displayed his badge or firearm.
His attorney, Darren Richie, said Ibrahim didn’t participate in the riot, engage in any violence or try to enter the Capitol that day. He also remained “honest and voluntarily cooperative” with authorities, Richie added.
“This indictment results from conjecture, political pressure and a flawed attempt to paint a specific narrative through pictures taken wholly out of context. Mr. Ibrahim firmly believes the truth shall always prevail,” Richie said in a statement.
A federal judge authorized Ibrahim’s release from custody after his initial court appearance on Tuesday, KTLA reported.
Ibrahim has denied breaking any laws, telling Fox News in March that he “never even set foot on the stairs of the Capitol building.” He said he went to the rally with his brother, an FBI agent, who faced “no adverse action” for attending.
“When the crowd began to be hostile toward law enforcement, me being law enforcement myself I started to document everything,” Ibrahim told host Tucker Carlson, adding he later gave the materials to the FBI “so those criminals could face justice.”
“I wanted to aid law enforcement that day as best I could. I really didn’t think anything of it,” he said.
After flying back to Los Angeles, Ibrahim said, he was stripped of his badge and gun and “fired after being suspended for two months for performance issues.”
“They got it wrong,” he said of his termination. “Me and my brother both served in the Army. I followed him into federal law enforcement. My sister is a Navy veteran. My mom was in the Pentagon on 9/11.”
“The saddest part about this,” Ibrahim added, “is I can’t serve my country anymore.”
The DEA had declined for months to say whether any of its agents attended the rally, saying it could not comment on “specific personnel matters,” according to KTLA.
“If we receive information indicating an employee engaged in misconduct, DEA’s policy is to promptly refer the case to the appropriate authorities for review,” the agency told AP in January.
They further declined comment Tuesday regarding Ibrahim’s case.