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A former senior FBI official told House lawmakers the bureau conducted an internal audit after losing track of how many informants and other sources were involved in the January 6 U.S. Capitol breach.
Steven D’Antuono, former assistant director-in-charge of the Washington Field Office, told the House Judiciary Committee during a closed-door testimony in June that his office learned there had been confidential human sources (CHS) from various field offices, as well as other informants who went to the nation’s Capitol on their own accord, according to a Tuesday letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray about the bureau’s use of confidential sources.
When asked by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) during a hearing on June 7, 2023, if D’Antuono knew about the sources and that the FBI knew ahead of time they would be present among the crowd of thousands of protestors, he responded with “that is my belief, yeah.”
“D’Antuono explained that due to the large number of CHSs present at the Capitol, the [Washington Field Office] asked FBI Headquarters ‘to do a poll or put out something to people saying w[ere] any CHSs involved’ so the FBI could try to ascertain how many CHSs had been in attendance,” the letter reads.
D’Antuono said his office “started getting responses back” after contacting the bureau’s headquarters.
The committee disclosed one example from D’Antuono, who recalled that a source from the Kansas City Field Office had allegedly been in contact with his “handler” while “they were in the crowd, I think, saying that they were going in. They were trying to stop some of the action happening, and they left or whatnot.”
“This new information is extremely concerning,” Jordan wrote in the letter. “It suggests that the FBI cannot adequately track the activities and operations of its informants, and that it lost control of its CHSs present at the Capitol on January 6.”
“These revelations reinforce existing concerns, identified by Special Counsel Durham, about the FBI’s use of, and payment to, CHSs who have fabricated evidence and misrepresented information,” he added.
A spokesperson from the FBI National Press Office declined to comment when asked about the testimony by The Daily Wire.
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told The Washington Times that the FBI’s alleged involvement in the Capitol breach could have likely contributed to the events unfolding that day.
“They just knew or should have known that what was going on, and one or more of those people in order to keep their cover, could well have been part of the reason that this got so far out of hand,” Issa said. “Because the FBI won’t admit that they had 20,30 or 40 individuals on their payroll and or informants, they also certainly won’t admit how many came into the Capitol, or how many who participated in some way in promoting this illegal activity.”
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a hearing on Wednesday how many agents and assets were present on January 5 and January 6.
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Garland responded.
MASSIE: “How many agents or assets of the government were present on January 5th and January 6th.. Can you answer that now?”
GARLAND: “I don't know the answer to that question.”
MASSIE: “I think you may have just perjured yourself that you don’t know if there were any” pic.twitter.com/a04nkeBGm9
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 20, 2023
Speculation over the number of FBI informants present during the Capitol breach comes as the Department of Justice has charged more than 1,100 people with January 6-related federal crimes — of which over 650 have pleaded guilty, more than 600 sentenced, and half received terms ranging from three days to 22 years.
Former FBI official George Hill, who worked as a supervisory intelligence analyst for the Boston Field Office, claimed earlier this year the bureau denied his office’s agents access to 11,000 hours of U.S. Capitol video footage on January 6 out of fear that it would reveal the identities of possible undercover officers and confidential informants present that day.
Former Capitol Hill Police Chief Steven Sund said the FBI had at least 18 undercover agents in the January 6 crowd, in addition to the paid informants, and another estimated 20 authorities from the Department of Homeland Security, according to The New York Post.
The outlet reported the bureau spends an average of $42 million annually in payments to its Confidential Human Sources, according to the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last year if the bureau had any confidential human sources dressed as Trump supporters during the Capitol riot.
Wray stonewalled the direct question and denied FBI informants were in the crowd on January 6.
“To the extent that there’s a suggestion, for example, that the FBI’s confidential human sources or FBI employees in some way instigated or orchestrated January 6, that’s categorically false.”