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Jan. 6 Skeptics Are Saying This New York Times Report Proves Them Right

Some skeptics of the government’s account of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attacks have claimed vindication based on a Saturday New York Times report about FBI informants at the attack on the Capitol.

SO WHAT

The FBI has lost Republicans’ trust.

THE REPORT

The Times report, which cited “confidential records” and “two people familiar with the matter,” undermined federal prosecutors’ claims that the Capitol attack was planned ahead of time while providing fodder for speculation on the right that the FBI orchestrated the event.

“[The records] suggest that federal law enforcement had a far greater visibility into the assault on the Capitol, even as it was taking place, than was previously known,” according to the Times. “At the same time, the new information is likely to complicate the government’s efforts to prove the high-profile conspiracy charges it has brought against several members of the Proud Boys.”

  • On Jan. 6 and afterward, the records show, an unidentified FBI informant who was affiliated with a Midwest chapter of the Proud Boys, a pro-Trump street gang, was texting with his FBI handler. 
  • The informant repeatedly said the group had no intention of using violence or disrupting the certification of the Electoral College vote in the Capitol that day.
  • Another Proud Boys member, from a different chapter, who participated in the Capitol attack was also an FBI informant, the Times reported. 

The records obtained by the Times also sharpened questions about why the FBI and other law enforcement agencies failed to stop the infiltration of the Capitol. 

  • The FBI was investigating at least two other participants in the Jan. 6 rally against the certification of the 2020 results, and agency officials in Washington were alerted in advance of the attack that the information was traveling to the Capitol with several other Proud Boys, per the records. 

THE REACTION

The Times said the records suggest the FBI was “slow to grasp the gravity of what was happening” on Jan. 6, belying “misinformation … among far-right commentators and websites accusing the F.B.I. of having used informants or agents to stage the attack on Jan. 6.”

On Twitter, however, many commentators characterized the revelation of FBI involvement in the Capital attack as the first crack in the alleged conspiracy.

Darren Beattie, a former speechwriter for Donald Trump, declared that the Times had confirmed “the thesis” of “federal involvement in 1/6” pushed by his news site, Revolver News.

Other Twitter commentators claimed victory on behalf of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has faced criticism for questioning the mainstream narrative about Jan. 6 and pointing to an FBI role.

SAME ENERGY

The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was previously outed as a “prolific” informant for the FBI and local police departments, though he was not in Washington on Jan. 6 on orders from a judge.

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