A shocking Buzzfeed report indicates the case against those involved in an alleged plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is being “complicated” by an “array of issues” involving the FBI’s handling of the case.
For example, FBI informants were involved, and agents have been arrested for other crimes.
The kidnapping plot had allegedly been discussed at a meeting in Ohio around June of last year, and plans were hatched straight through until October when six of the men were first arrested.
14 individuals overall have been arrested in the bizarre plot, with 13 pleading ‘not guilty.’
The one man who pleaded guilty agreed to testify against the others and was sentenced to six years and three months for his role in the domestic terrorism case.
Federal investigators described several of the men taken into custody as ‘anti-government extremists’ who were angry over Whitmer’s strict COVID-19 policies, according to the Associated Press.
FBI Investigation Into Alleged Michigan Governor Kidnapping Plot Is a Mess (an informant and one FBI agent were charged with crimes, another was accused of perjury, a third was found promoting a private security firm, among other problems):
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) December 17, 2021
FBI Sinking The Whitmer Plot Case?
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The latest Buzzfeed column suggests that one of the “most important domestic terrorism prosecutions in a generation” is running into problems and it “call(s) into question tactics” used by the FBI.
“The case seemed like a lock,” they write, “until an informant and one FBI agent were charged with crimes, another was accused of perjury, and a third was found promoting a private security firm.”
They mention FBI agent Jayson Chambers, who played a key role in the investigation but had been trying to drum up business for his own private security firm by touting his casework at the bureau.
Chambers, shortly after his security firm became public, was dropped from the list of witnesses set to testify in the trial against the defendants.
BuzzFeed News reports that their “investigation reveals new information about how Chambers’ business, along with an array of issues involving other FBI agents and informants, has bedeviled the prosecution.”
“Defense lawyers are now seeking more information about FBI Special Agent Jayson Chambers, who owns an internet intelligence company on the side. His company’s Twitter account posted hints about the pending arrests before the news was public.” pic.twitter.com/rjSR9U6MwT
— Heather Champion (@winningatmylife) October 2, 2021
Additional problems abound.
“Beyond the integrity of the case, the problems are serious and widespread enough to call into question tactics the FBI has relied on for decades — and to test the public’s trust in the bureau overall,” Buzzfeed writes.
Those who have worked on the case now have their own rap sheet, according to the report:
A second FBI agent, who had served as the case’s public face, was charged with beating his wife when they returned home from a swingers party. He was fired soon thereafter. A third agent was accused of perjury. A state prosecutor in a related case was reassigned and then retired in the face of an audit into his prior use of informants.
And an informant whose work was crucial to the investigation was indicted on a gun charge and is now under investigation for fraud.
Prosecutors indicate they’ve collected thousands of social media posts, hundreds of thousands of text messages, and over 1,300 hours of recordings that supposedly prove those charged in the Whitmer kidnapping plot were guilty in attempting to carry out the plot.
The defendants, though, counter that they were victims of entrapment by an overzealous and severely compromised investigation.
The FBI has a long history of using informants to infiltrate dissident groups, with mixed results. Some informants have coerced innocent people and falsified evidence. But defendants who say they were entrapped almost always see that argument fail in court.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 20, 2021
The report reveals that at least a dozen confidential informants had been used in the Michigan Governor case, along with an additional pair of undercover FBI agents.
Buzzfeed writes that cases throughout the FBI’s past have used such informants, most notably against Muslims accused of having links to terrorism after 9/11.
“Officially, these agents and informants are supposed to blend in and report back, not to directly steer the group’s actions — and certainly not to push them to commit crimes the groups would not otherwise have contemplated,” they state.
Chambers worked on several cases involving the accused Muslims who had argued they’d been entrapped, to no avail.
Many of the defendants say it was Dan, working at the government’s behest, who brought them together and pushed them to plan a kidnapping. They say they are being persecuted for their political beliefs. https://t.co/eWUbospoXj
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 20, 2021
A previous report by Buzzfeed revealed the FBI “did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects.”
The FBI, they claim, “had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception.”
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson back in June of 2021 had alleged undercover agents with the FBI may have orchestrated a vast majority of the plot against Whitmer.
“In other words, nearly half the gang of kidnappers were working for the FBI,” he said.
Buzzfeed notes that prosecutors still have “a mountain of evidence to draw from” in trying the case.
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