OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
The FBI very likely had more advance knowledge of what was about to take place ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol Building breach that the agency has previously let on, including the fact that informants working on behalf of the bureau were actually inside that day, according to The New York Times.
The paper reported Saturday that one of the right-wing organizations the bureau was tracking ahead of the riot was the Proud Boys, and an informant for the group was texting his FBI handler ahead of the breach noting that members of his group did not have any intentions of going inside.
What’s more, it appears to be clear that what took place that day was nothing like an “insurrection,” but rather groups of President Donald Trump’s supporters who came to Washington to hear him speak but got caught up in the fracas due to “herd mentality.”
In the middle of an unfolding melee that shook a pillar of American democracy — the peaceful transfer of power — the bureau had an informant in the crowd, providing an inside glimpse of the action, according to confidential records obtained by The New York Times. In the informant’s version of events, the Proud Boys, famous for their street fights, were largely following a pro-Trump mob consumed by a herd mentality rather than carrying out any type of preplanned attack.
“On Jan. 6, and for months after, the records show, the informant, who was affiliated with a Midwest chapter of the Proud Boys, denied that the group intended to use violence that day. In lengthy interviews, the records say, he also denied that the extremist organization planned in advance to storm the Capitol,” the paper continued.
“The records describing the informant’s account of Jan. 6 — excerpts from his interviews and communications with the F.B.I. before, during and after the riot — dovetail with assertions made by defense lawyers who have argued that even though several Proud Boys broke into the Capitol, the group did not arrive in Washington with a preset plot to storm the building,” the report added.
“They also raise new questions about the performance of the F.B.I. in tracking the threat from far-right groups like the Proud Boys.”
The paper went on to note that at no time did the informant tell his FBI handler that the Proud Boys were pre-planning an assault on the Capitol, and in fact, countered government prosecutors’ assertions that the organization’s leaders explicitly told members to remain on the defensive that day.
“On the eve of the attack, the records show, the informant said that the group had no plans to engage in violence the next day except to defend itself from potential assaults from leftist activists,” the Times reported.
At one point, according to documents seen by the Times, the informant actually entered the Capitol Building after it had already been breached.
“The records say that the informant entered the Capitol after debating whether to do so with his compatriots. He then told his handlers, according to the records, that after police officers informed him that someone — possibly the pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt — had been shot inside the building, he left the through a window. The records say that he hurt no one and broke nothing,” the paper reported.
Meanwhile, on his Thursday program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who first brought up the possibility that the FBI was using informants and they were likely on the scene Jan. 6, suggested again that federal agents may have served as provocateurs.
“Surveillance footage shows a squad of people, dressed in all-black, systematically entering the Capitol and kicking open one of the exterior doors on the Senate side. They appear to be well-trained and coordinated,” he said. “They’re not high on hallucinogenic mushrooms. The question is, who are they? And why don’t we know their names? And why aren’t they dressed like any of the other people in the footage that’s just been released?”
“We still don’t know how many federal agents were involved in the events that day, but we have reason to believe from court documents that it’s a significant number. And here’s one clue: at a recent rally in Washington, the feds managed to arrest one of their own undercover agents,” he continued.
“How many undercover agents? There were so many feds at the event, that they lost track of each other, and arrested one of them. So we ask again: how many federal agents were there on Jan. 6? Why can’t we know?”