Of course, the FBI infiltrated groups on January 6th


WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 10: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Wray asked a variety of questions, including several about the January 6th Capitol riot. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The galaxy of media, fact-checkers, and “disinformation” NGOs is in five-alarm fire mode after Tucker Carlson raised the issue of intruders and provocateurs at the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6.

Before looking at the existing details, it should be noted that no left-wing journalist would have the same reservations about bringing up this issue if the protest was left-wing or if the alleged violent extremists were Muslim. As recently as last year, Intercept was extremely concerned about the infiltration and escalation within left groups by the FBI, but the idea that they could do the same to rights is kind of mind boggling.

So the Revolver news article that sparked intruders interest last week begins with Senator Klobuchar’s absurd question to FBI Director Christopher Wray. She asks if on January 6th he wished “if we could have infiltrated some of the groups involved”.

Wray replies that it’s a subject he’s “passionate” about. I am sure it is.

Here is the bottom line. You’re not crazy for wanting to know about the role of the federal informants on Jan. 6 for three main reasons:

  1. This type of infiltration has been routine in right-wing groups for decades, and it is also routine for informers to incite other participants to more extreme acts.
  2. There is ample evidence that informants played a key role in these groups, including as leaders in some of the more extreme ones.
  3. Vast amounts of video and electronic evidence are withheld from the public.

We’ll get to some of the more promising places, but first let’s address a few critics of Tucker and Revolver, almost all of which missed the point. It started with Twitter’s bizarre and widely ridiculed fact check:

The Washington Post and HuffPo focus on the problems with the amalgamation of unindicted co-conspirators and informants (HuffPo calls it a “wild, irresponsible leap”). It is true that there are many reasons a person may not be charged, an informant arrangement is only one, but the fact remains that we have every reason to believe that these groups are heavily infiltrated. Aaron Blake at the Washington Post misses the point further, writing “Legal experts say the government literally cannot designate an undercover agent as an unindicted co-conspirator,” which may be true, but they can certainly identify an informant as such.

After admitting that the fascist insurgents were right about Brian Sicknick, who was not killed by the mob, Jack Shafer admitted at politics writes: “We can never expect the current Congress to definitively answer our questions. That leaves the press to separate the January 6th sense from nonsense wherever and whenever it comes up. ”He’s overly optimistic about the press, but it’s true that the only way to infiltrate political groups through the Getting to the bottom of federal law enforcement agencies, Congress is like the Church Committee and COINTELPRO.

The main point of contention is the charges brought by Thomas Caldwell, a former Marine Reserve intelligence officer who is alleged to be a leader of the Oath Keepers. “Federal authorities say he is an extremist leader who directed rioters. He also had a top-secret clearance and worked for the FBI, lawyer says, “the headline reads about him Washington Post. One shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but one really has to Truer wonder if there is something wrong with that? Blake points out that one of the unindicted co-conspirators appears to be his wife, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that she isn’t an informant, as federal agencies have used Oath Keepers’ spouses for this purpose in the past. A résumé like Caldwell’s one has to wonder if he was a whistleblower himself and whether the fact that he is being prosecuted seems to have closed the case there, considering that federal authorities in the case of Gretchen Whitmer’s abduction in Michigan indicting an informant there too.

“For our purposes, here is the key difference between UCCs and CIs: By definition a confidential informant cannot be a member of a conspiracy – whether charged or not charged, ”writes Andy McCarthy of NGO. As far as the law goes, he’s right. But not all informants have a formal CI relationship that he speaks of. The history of far-right groups is riddled with informants, and most of them Not have a formal status; It’s not just people facing criminal prosecution or who have been turned over after being charged with forbearance. In some important cases, like those of Klan members Gary Thomas Rowe or Roy Frankhouser, CI status or even the appearance of it has made it possible to protect violent criminals from prosecution. It is technically correct that a CI is an “undercover law enforcement agent”, but in practice there is a lot of independence.

It does not seem to me to be an unreasonable assumption that informants played a huge role in organizing and conducting the January 6 protests that led to a riot, as this has been consistent with the FBI’s practice with this type of group for decades. But let’s look at a few more specifics.

For example, no one has seen the skin or hair of the main organizer of January 6th, Ali Alexander, since then, despite reports that he is under investigation by the FBI. I find that very suspicious. A former Green Beret who joined the Oath Keepers spoken March about the FBI’s attempt to recruit him. Other Oath Keepers executives have claimed they are being trained by law enforcement agencies. The most notable footage from inside the Capitol that day was a videographer identified as Agent Provocateur by left-wing groups in the southwest. His videos show guys in Proud Boys outfit who break into the crowd behind police lines and then come out again.

We also know that the leader of the Proud Boys was a “prolific” government informant:

All of this, combined with the federal agencies’ documented interest in right-wing extremism in general, and these groups in particular, not to mention their formidable surveillance powers, makes the January 6th “intelligence failure” narrative a little hard to believe. Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have denied this allegation. It’s almost certainly nonsense, but necessary to explain the Capitol Police’s obvious decision to step down and let the rioters in, a fact that will likely complicate some of these charges.

According to Capitol Police and Senate investigators, the only piece of information telling them that protesters were attempting to act violent was dropped on the evening before January 6 in the form of a report from the FBI’s Norfolk office. Michael Bolton, of the Capitol Police Inspector General’s Office, testified in April that the memo, mailed from the FBI’s Norfolk office on the evening of January 5th, contained evidence that protesters were planning to break glass, cause trouble and the To have mapped the Capitol tunnel. He says:

According to the Ministry’s schedule on January 5, 2021 at around 7 p.m. By 8 p.m., a USCP task force agent embedded with the FBI emailed the Intelligence Operations Section (IOS) a memorandum from the Norfolk FBI department containing additional details about the January 6, 2021 event . …

The acting Assistant Chief also stated that, to the best of their knowledge, the FBI never officially sent the memorandum to the USCP. The Norfolk FBI department prepared the document and posted it on an FBI intranet or other internal system. Late in the evening of January 5, 2021, a USCP Task Force Officer (TFO) assigned to the FBI Guardian Squad Task Force retrieved the memorandum from the FBI system and emailed it to a USCP IOS email distribution list.

The Senate report from June characterizes this somewhat differently:

On January 5, a member of a separate intelligence component of the USCP received information from the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office about online discussions of violence against Congress, including demonstrators attending Congress “prepared for war”. This report, like other information received from the IICD, was never distributed to the leadership of the IICD or the USCP before January 6 …

The USCP Inspector General concluded that a USCP analyst involved in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force had retrieved a copy of the SIR from an FBI intranet system. Records made available to the committees show that the analyst, an IOS employee – not IICD – received the SIR through email from the FBI Washington Field Office. In a briefing with the committees in February, Ms. Pittman stated that the USCP analyst forwarded the report to his manager, but it was not circulated. Mr Sund testified on the same account. However, the USCP inspector general concluded that the USCP analyst had emailed the SIR to an IOS distribution list. USCP has not submitted documents to the committees to confirm the two accounts. No one in the IICD or USCP leadership received the SIR until January 6th. The USCP Inspector General’s report stated that the “memorandum did not re-emerge until it was added to an information package mailed late January 6, 2021 after the security breach”. . “

First of all, there are discrepancies between these two accounts that Republicans should be investigating. The Norfolk report contains some specific threats of violence, which Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI, described in testimony as “information from the Internet that cannot be traced back to any particular person”.

Before January 6, the FBI alleged that it had no evidence of demonstrators specifically designed to commit acts of violence. Evidence appears to have arrived less than 24 hours before the riot, but the FBI says they can’t attribute it to anyone.

That seems nonsense to me, and if I were a Congressional investigator, that Norfolk report would be the first thing I would ask for. Perhaps the FBI was telling the truth that until less than a day before the riot, there was no sign that the protesters intended to become violent. They may have previously overlooked or hidden evidence of the violent intentions of the rioters from the Capitol Police. Anyway, I would like to know who sent these maddening messages that the Norfolk Field Office tagged.

No member of Congress asked an FBI officer how he classified any of the three major radical groups present on January 6th. The Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide published by Intercept in 2017 is the set of rules for the Bureau’s practices. This stipulates who has to sign the secret participation in parliamentary groups. The most important distinctions are whether the investigation is “sensitive” or “not sensitive” and whether the organization is “illegitimate” or “legitimate”; if it’s a sensitive investigation against a legitimate group, more people need to be scanned. As the Intercept noted at the time, this scheme is riddled with holes – no regulatory approval is required, for example, when informants provide information, when they are believed to be in league with foreign governments, or when the group is “illegitimate” – but it’s a good starting point. It seems like a given that a Capitol demonstration would be a sensitive affair, but a simple question for Christopher Wray, to which we don’t yet know the answer, is: Does the FBI look at the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and III% legitimate? or illegitimate organizations, and for what reasons?

Congress is the only body that can get responses to Jan. 6, but if Republicans don’t give up their deference to the security state, a commission is likely to do more harm than it helps.

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