A career FBI agent who once was the bureau's specialist in court-ordered secret entries and safecracking, said yesterday he expects to be indicted today on federal charges arising from allegations that he received stolen diamonds.

The agent, H. Edward Tickel, 42, said he is innocent of any charges, which his lawyer said would include receiving stolen property, income tax evasion, obstruction of justice and soliciting perjury.

Tickel, who said he has been under investigation by the FBI for three years, said yesterday from his home in Fairfax Station: "We haven't had a chance to say our side of the story. I'm glad for the opportunity to fight back."

Tickel's attorney, Kenneth Michael Robinson, contacted The Washington Post about what he said would be the imminent indictment of his client because he said he wanted to present his client's side. Robinson said that Tickel will be indicted in U.S. District Court in Alexandria today on the stolen property and income tax evasion charges, and in federal court in the District on the other two charges.

"We will plead not guilty and will prove that the charges are inaccurate," Robinson said. "We're looking forward to the opportunity to show that Ed Tickel has dignity, loyalty and integrity."

Stanley Harris, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said yesterday that an indictment "is very likely," but he said he could not be more specific. Joseph Aronica, head of the criminal division for the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria, said he could neither confirm nor deny an indictment. Art Brill, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said yesterday, "We can't comment on that."

Robinson said the FBI has scheduled a press conference for today. Both Brill and Thomas Baker, special agent in the FBI's press office, said they knew nothing of any press conference on Tickel.

Tickel, a 14-year veteran of the FBI, who was transferred a year ago to the bureau's property management section, came under investigation in April 1980 in connection with an alleged entry at the FBI's credit union office, according to Robinson. Federal agents then began to look at Tickel's financial records, particularly his sale of $37,000 worth of diamonds, Robinson said.

Robinson said the diamonds Tickel sold were not stolen. He added that the diamonds had been in Tickel's family for some time and that since the sale did not result in a capital gain they did not have to be listed on his income tax return.

Robinson said the obstruction of justice and perjury charges refer to allegations that Tickel instructed witnesses on what to say to the grand jury. Robinson said the charges are unfounded.