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According to the attorney for Ray Epps, a former Arizona Oath Keeper whose presence at the January 6, 2021 events at Capitol Hill has drawn scrutiny all across social media, the reason the FBI removed Epps’ face from a January 6 suspect list six months later was partially because he was not an unidentified suspect any longer.
John Blischak told Politico that Epps contacted the FBI on January 8, 2021, and “explained his position” after a relative informed him news reports had featured him. “The list contains images and videos of rioters who were caught on camera in the crowd but who have not been identified or tracked by the bureau,” Politico added.
Blischak admitted he was unaware why Epps’ face was not scrubbed from the website for months.
Mary McCord, a former acting assistant attorney general for national security, echoed, “The FBI no longer needs help identifying him. It also seems from his attorney that he has been cooperative, so the FBI isn’t looking for him and has a way to reach him through counsel,” as The Washington Post reported.
Videos on Jan. 5 show Epps urging other to “go into the Capitol.” “Some in the crowd quickly booed and responded to with chants accusing Epps of being a ‘fed,’” Politico noted, pointing out that Epps added,.“Peacefully.”
In a Jan. 5 video, Epps was seen saying, “In fact, tomorrow, I don’t even want to say it because I will probably be arrested. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol.” He later told Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic, “The only thing that meant is we would go in the doors like everyone else. It was totally, totally wrong the way they went in.”
He also whispered something into the ear of Ryan Samsel on Jan. 6; moments later, Samsel joined others breaching a barricade.
The House committee investigating the events of January 6 stated earlier this month that claims that Epps was an FBI agent were inaccurate, stating:
The Select Committee is aware of unsupported claims that Ray Epps was an FBI informant based on the fact that he was on the FBI Wanted list and then was removed from that list without being charged.
“Mr. Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th or 6th or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency,” the statement continued.
Earlier this month, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, “The Domestic Terrorism Threat One Year After January 6,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director for the FBI’s national security branch, about the possibility that federal officials urged lawless behavior on January 6. He queried, “How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?”
Sanborn answered that she could not discuss “the specifics of sources and methods” of the FBI. Cruz pressed the question as to whether FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the riot. Sanborn replied, “Sir, I can’t answer that.”