Did the FBI have agents on the inside during the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion? Tucker Carlson believes there’s evidence that they did — and they may have played a much bigger role than some of those who have been indicted.
On his Tuesday show on Fox News, Carlson argued that the fact that some of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Capitol riot were organizers who were far more involved in any plotting than individuals who were charged led him to believe those individuals were federal agents working on the inside.
At the top of the segment, Carlson noted that Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaking Wednesday, said that “the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.” And yet, as the Fox News host also noted, his speech dealt largely with the events of Jan. 6.
“He, like most people you see on television, wants you to believe, and wants history to record, that Jan. 6 was an attempted insurrection by white supremacist revolutionaries bent on taking over this country,” Carlson said. “We came this close, Merrick Garland said. And that’s why ‘We must adopt a broader societal response to tackle the problem’s deeper roots.'”
He said this was “a big change in the way the U.S. government assesses and then treats its own citizens,” a slide toward authoritarianism Carlson saw in how Jan. 6 is being treated.
We don’t, for instance, know who shot Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was killed during the incursion. We still haven’t seen what Carlson said was “more than 10,000 hours of surveillance tape from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.”
Perhaps most importantly, he said, we don’t know who Person Two or Person Three are.
Carlson was referencing a report from Revolver.news, a right-wing website and aggregator that looked at some of the Department of Justice’s indictments in the wake of the Capitol incursion. There are quite a few unindicted co-conspirators who appear to be known to law enforcement but haven’t been charged or named.
There could be a number of reasons for this, but Carlson seems to believe one reason in particular.
“Without fail, the government has thrown the book at most people who were present in the Capitol on Jan. 6,” he said. “There was a nationwide dragnet to find them. And many of them are still in solitary confinement tonight.
“But, strangely, some of the key people who participated on Jan. 6 have not been charged. Look at the documents. The government calls those people ‘unindicted co-conspirators.’ What does that mean?
“Well, it means that in potentially every single case, they were FBI operatives.”
His argument stems from those pesky individuals identified only as Person Two and Person Three, both unindicted co-conspirators in the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.
“According to those documents,” Carlson said, “Person Two stayed in the same hotel room as a man called Thomas Caldwell — an ‘insurrectionist,’ a man alleged to be a member of the group the Oath Keepers. Person Two also ‘stormed the barricades’ at the Capitol on Jan. 6 alongside Thomas Caldwell.
“The government’s indictments further indicate that Caldwell — who by the way is a 65-year-old man, this dangerous insurrectionist — was led to believe there would be a ‘quick reaction force’ also participating on Jan. 6. That quick reaction force, Caldwell was told, would be led by someone called ‘Person Three’ — who had a hotel room and an accomplice with him..
“But wait. Here’s the interesting thing. Person Two and Person Three were organizers of the riot. The government knows who they are, but the government has not charged them.
“Why is that? You know why. They were almost certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to government documents. And those two are not alone.”
Overall, Revolver.news analyzed the indictments and found “upwards of 20 unindicted co-conspirators in the Oath Keeper indictments, all playing various roles in the conspiracy, who have not been charged for virtually the exact same activities — and in some cases much, much more severe activities — as those named alongside them in indictments.”
You know the Carl Sagan quote: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The thing is, FBI infiltration in situations like these isn’t necessarily extraordinary.
“Remember that plot to kidnap [Michigan] Gov. Gretchen Whitmer? We heard a lot about that, and Whitmer was able to cover some of her own incompetence, although not all, by pointing to the fact that she’s now a victim,” Carlson said. “Now, in the FBI’s telling of that plot, a whole team of insurrectionists was going to drive a van up to Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation house and throw her in the back and drive away.
“The mastermind of this plot, according to the FBI, was a man called Adam Fox. Who was Adam Fox? Adam Fox turned out to be a homeless guy who was living in the basement of a vacuum repair shop. Quite a guerrilla!”
Carlson said that “if you read the government’s charging documents carefully, and you should, you’ll see that it gets even more ridiculous. It turns out that one of the five people in the planned ‘Gretchen Whitmer kidnap van’ was an FBI agent. In the van. Another was an FBI informant. And the feds admitted in these documents that an informant or undercover agent was ‘usually present’ in the group’s meetings.
“In other words … nearly half the gang of kidnappers were working for the FBI. Remember the guy who suggested using a bomb to blow up a bridge as part of that plot? That got a lot of coverage. That guy was an undercover FBI agent.”
When the alleged Whitmer kidnap plot members were indicted, socialist publication Jacobin noted the case bore similarities to other examples of near-entrapment by the FBI, including Islamists. They described the case of “twenty-five-year-old Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr, indicted in 2017 for planning to bomb a Kansas City train station, in a plot whose every detail — time, place, and type of attack — was devised by his two ISIS-member accomplices. Unfortunately for Hester, those ISIS members turned out to be undercover FBI agents who had contacted Hester to devise the plot after seeing some of his extremist social media posts.
“Like Shareef, Hester was poor; at one meeting with what he thought were ISIS agents, he brought his kids because he didn’t have childcare. And like Shareef, the FBI not only provided him weapons and gave him the list of bomb-making supplies he needed to buy, but they gave him the $20 he needed to afford them, with Hester later promising the agents he would buy ammunition once he got his tax refund. At one point, an agent threatened Hester with a knife and reminded him that he knew where his family lived. This year, Hester was sentenced to nineteen years in prison.”
These things have gone wrong before, too. Before a terrorist attacked a contest to draw a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas, in 2015, an FBI agent working undercover to infiltrate Islamist terrorists texted the shooter and instructed him to “tear up Texas.”
Carlson argued it went farther, using author Trevor Aaronson’s 2013 book “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism.”
“He analyzed every terrorism prosecution from 2001 to 2013,” the Fox News host said. “Aaronson found that at least 50 defendants were on trial because of behavior that the FBI had not only encouraged but enabled. FBI agents were essentially the plotters in these crimes. They made the crimes, crimes.”
Carlson’s overarching point can best be encapsulated at 11:30: “If you empower the government to violate civil liberties in pursuit of a foreign terror organization, and there are foreign terror organizations, it’s just a matter of time before ambitious politicians use those same mechanisms to suppress political dissent.”
If the FBI’s history of quasi-entrapment doesn’t necessarily make this an outright extraordinary claim, it’s still a pretty extraordinary claim. The evidence these unindicted co-conspirators are FBI agents simply isn’t there — yet. Carlson’s surety should be met with wariness.
That said, it’s curious that Democrats continue to push for a Jan. 6 “truth commission” without necessarily leveling with the American public about the facts. Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why aren’t alleged organizers such as Person Two and Person Three being charged when people who seem to have been little more than riot tourists are facing years in prison?
There’s also something to be said for the fact the FBI’s reputation is so tarnished at this point that a cable network would run an opinion remotely like this one. It isn’t just the bureau’s recent history of problematic infiltration. There is a litany of other outrages — the FISA warrant against Carter Page, the manufactured case against Michael Flynn, the Peter Strzok/Lisa Page texts, a goodly portion of everything James Comey touched — that don’t make this seem completely implausible.
Carlson’s point hasn’t been proven, however, and there are clearly other possibilities. These are questions that deserve answers, though, since the FBI’s recent history means this isn’t just a conspiracy theory.
If Carlson hypothesis is in error, he should be corrected.
If it isn’t, that’s something America needs to know.
Given that the Democrats have waved the bloody shirt of Jan. 6 to ask for expansive new powers to fight domestic terrorism, it might behoove us to know what they knew about the Capitol riot before it happened — and if, perhaps, they were more dug in than they’ve let on so far.
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