Oct 21, 2022

Was the FBI Involved in a 'Seditious Conspiracy' To Attack the Capitol?

Several members of the right-wing Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy for an alleged plot to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. But new details of undercover government operatives raise troubling questions.
Was the FBI Involved in a 'Seditious Conspiracy' To Attack the Capitol?
Photo by Colin Lloyd / Unsplash

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Written by Hudson Crozier

The facts: The FBI had five undercover informants embedded in the Oath Keepers on or before January 6, 2021. Shortly before the trial, the Justice Department tried to persuade the judge not to allow any questioning about their involvement.

The FBI’s unethical reputation: The bureau has a sketchy history of using undercover operatives to help plan acts of terrorism from the inside in order to later arrest those involved. In 2020, the bureau charged members of an anti-government militia for an alleged scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. At least a dozen undercover agents and informants had directly influenced each stage of the plot, leading to the acquittals of some defendants.

Suspicious connection: Just as the Oath Keepers are accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol building, an earlier version of the Michigan terror plot involved storming the state capitol. And interestingly, the head of the FBI’s Michigan investigation was awarded a promotion to the investigative office in Washington, D.C., ahead of the January 6 attack.

How involved was the government in the Capitol attack? Documents reviewed by the Oath Keepers’ lawyers showed that at least 20 agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were embedded at the Capitol for unknown reasons. The FBI has refused to tell Congress whether any of its operatives incited or committed violence that day.

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