FBI had informant among Capitol riot crowd, report says

·2 min read
Members of the Proud Boys joined rioters on 6 January  (Getty Images)
Members of the Proud Boys joined rioters on 6 January (Getty Images)

An FBI informant was reportedly among the 6 January rioters, and passed on real-time updates to his handler as the mob stormed the US Capitol seeking to disrupt the official certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.

The New York Times reported a member of the far-right Proud Boys militia who was among the thousands to take part in the deadly riot was texting an FBI agent throughout the day.

The informant is identified only as belonging to a Midwest chapter of the group.

According to the report, the informant was unaware in advance that the group would attempt to break into the US Capitol, where lawmakers were certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

It suggests that law enforcement were more aware about what was happening on the ground than had been previously known.

Records obtained by the Times describe the informant meeting with other Proud Boys on the morning of 6 January by the Washington Monument, where former President Donald Trump spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the violent scene at the Capitol.

The Proud Boys is notorious for instigating fights at protests, but according to the informant’s version of events, the group were simply “following a pro-Trump mob consumed by herd mentality”.

Militia members reportedly had a long debate about whether to enter the Capitol, and eventually made their way into the building.

The informant escaped through a window after a police officer told him someone had been shot inside, possibly referring to Ashli Babbitt.

The informant seems to suggest there was no plot to storm the Capitol prior to the riot, and the intelligence may form part of the House select committee’s investigation into the events of that day.

It appears the informant was a foot soldier in the group, rather than one of its leaders.

Of the more than 600 rioters charged with offenses from the riot, 15 were members of the Proud Boys.

The 6January committee has requested defendants who have already pleaded guilty to testify before the panel.

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