Sen. Dan Sullivan has written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for an apology to a Homer, Alaska couple who were wrongly detained after FBI agents busted through their door on April 28, 2021, handcuffed them and their guests, and told them they believed one of them had stolen House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop on Jan. 6.
The Huepers deserve an apology. I hope responsible officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI will provide one to them.
– Sen. Dan Sullivan
Paul and Marilyn Hueper, of Homer, Alaska, and two of their guests were handcuffed and interrogated by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other law enforcement personnel who forcefully entered their home and searched it. The agents did not produce a warrant for several hours.
The Huepers’ front door was damaged and several personal items were taken from them, including their pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution, which was seized as “evidence” that they had acted unlawfully in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, when thousands of Americans swarmed the U.S. Capitol in protest of the confirmation of the Electoral College.
Sullivan wrote: “An affidavit filed in support of the search warrant states that the FBI received a tip about the Huepers. This person, and later another person, told the FBI that, based on released pictures of the event, Marilyn Hueper looked like a woman who had entered the Capitol Building on January 6, entered the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and took a laptop.
“According to the affidavit, the FBI used the picture on Marilyn Hueper’s driver’s license which ‘confirmed’ that Marilyn was the woman suspected of entering the Capitol and stealing the laptop and whose image was captured in video footage.
“None of this was true. Recently, New York resident Maryann Mooney-Rondon confessed to being the person who assisted in stealing Speaker Pelosi’s laptop. She and her son, who was also complicit, were arrested on October 1.
“Those are the facts. What’s left out of the FBI’s factual account is the personal suffering that the Huepers endured at the hands of the agency. According to them, their door was smashed down. Guns were drawn. They were handcuffed. Their faces were plastered across the media, while other federal agencies further scrutinized their activities,” Sullivan’s letter said.
“I am a strong supporter of America’s frontline law enforcement personnel and the tough, and sometimes thankless, job they do each and every day to keep our citizens safe,” Sullivan wrote. But he said that Alaska has a history of overzealous federal law enforcement actions.
“For example, the illegal and corrupt prosecution of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens remains a source of distrust between federal agents and Alaskans.
“There are times, too frequently in my view, that the federal government—particularly people in agencies with so much power—forget that they derive their power from the consent of the governed. There’s no mention of the FBI or the Department of Justice or any other agency in the Constitution. However, ‘the people’ are mentioned repeatedly, as is the Senate,” Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan said that, as a representative of the people, he provides oversight of federal agencies, and sees it his duty to call out and check unfettered powers, or to help agencies recognize when they have made mistakes.
“In discussions with senior FBI officials regarding this matter, I have tried to respectfully point out these types of mistakes and have encouraged an acknowledgement of them. I believe such an action, along with an apology, to the Huepers will help build trust and respect among the FBI, the Department of Justice and Alaskans.
“The Huepers deserve an apology. I hope responsible officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI will provide one to them,” Sullivan said. He sent a copy of the letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.