by Julie Kelly
To the surprise of no one paying attention, the Department of Justice recently acknowledged the use of several FBI informants in its investigation of the Oath Keepers, an alleged militia group tied to the events of January 6.
Prosecutors last week asked for a protective order to conceal from jurors information about confidential human sources (CHS) expected to testify during the seditious conspiracy trial of five members of the Oath Keepers; jury selection is now underway. Not only does the government want to prevent defense attorneys from asking personal questions that could reveal the informants’ identities but prosecutors don’t want the sources to publicly disclose any involvement in past or pending criminal investigations or details of “the FBI’s CHS program and the training and methods used by the FBI as part of their undercover operations.”
That request, of course, is to protect the bureau, not informants, in what appears to be just another corrupt, political, and unaccountable section of the FBI.
For example, court filings in Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into Russiagate just revealed that Igor Danchenko, a subsource for the infamous Steele dossier now facing perjury charges, was hired by the FBI in March 2017 as an informant to shield the agency from questions about the dossier’s credibility in the early stages of the scandal. “[The] bureau put him on its payroll as a confidential human source, or CHS, making him part of the bureau’s untouchable ‘sources and methods’ sanctum and thereby protecting him and any documents referencing him from congressional and other outside scrutiny,” investigative reporter Paul Sperry wrote this week.
The FBI-hatched plot to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer involved numerous informants working out of multiple FBI field offices. At trial, informants and agents confessed the rules were broken in the process of engineering the caper; violations included sharing a bed with a target, suggesting “overt acts” to produce incriminating evidence, and initiating the lead informant into a fake militia to advance the plot. Another longtime informant—a convicted felon many times over—committed at least two crimes while working the Whitmer fednapping ruse and was accused by the government of acting as a “double agent.”
None of this is necessarily news inside the department. An investigation by the Justice Department’s watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, identified “significant weaknesses with certain aspects of the FBI’s CHS program,” and spelled those out in a 2019 report. Oversight of both long-term sources and case-specific informants fell short of department standards, “creating a risk that CHSs are not adequately scrutinized.” FBI handling agents also failed to safeguard highly classified CHS material and often didn’t use secured lines of communication.
All this ineptitude doesn’t come cheap to American taxpayers. Horowitz found that the FBI spent an average of $42 million annually between 2012 and 2018 on informants—and that’s paid out in cash with little to no accountability.
Dan Chappel, the lead informant in the Whitmer fednapping, received at least $60,000 in cash and personal items for roughly seven months’ work; the bureau even compensated Chappel for a loss after selling his home. Two months after six men were arrested for conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, an FBI agent handed Chappel an envelope with at least $23,000 in cash, presumably for a mission accomplished. (Agents could point would-be informants to financial incentives as a reason to become a source.)
“Some counterterrorism CHSs make hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Kyle Seraphin, an FBI whistleblower who worked in the bureau’s counterrorism division, told American Greatness by phone on Thursday. “Agents give piles of cash to their informants with five and six-figure payouts. And the informants working in criminal cases aren’t always upstanding citizens, Seraphin said. “Most are scumbags, usually. It’s rare you find one with a nine to five job.”
FBI agents are required to keep at least one source on the books, which often leads to problems for long-term informants. “They become needy, they call in the middle of the night, they get arrested,” Seraphin explained. “Sources are a pain in the ass.”
But CHSs serve an important purpose in the modern-day FBI: to advance a political narrative beneficial to the Democratic Party and Biden regime, particularly the existence of “domestic violent extremists,” i.e., Trump supporters.
“Informants really push to hold together groups that don’t want to be together. The FBI keeps using [informants] as a hub in a wheel,” Seraphin said. Deploying informants also allows for the introduction of FBI undercover agents, which puts in motion a multifaceted effort that ultimately involves U.S. attorneys, FBI supervising agents, intelligence analysts, and main Justice if it’s associated with a suspected domestic terror attack.
The result, more often than not, Seraphin said, is the equivalent of entrapment. “There’s a moral definition that we all feel is entrapment but the legal definition is not the same. It’s predatory. People are building [their] FBI careers on predatory investigations of people who probably just need mental health care. They find the person they don’t like, then find the crime. It’s what they know, and it’s effective.”
This certainly was the case in the Whitmer fednapping scheme. Dozens of supervising agents, undercover employees, and informants stitched together the random group of outliers—the alleged ringleader, Adam Fox, lived alone in the dilapidated cellar of a strip mall vacuum repair shop without running water or a toilet—then organized training and surveillance trips to produce evidence before luring them to an arrest site in Ypsilanti, Michigan on October 7, 2020
But a Grand Rapids jury in April—Seraphin said these investigations rarely get to the prosecution stage—acquitted two men and ended with a hung jury for two others after the defense convinced jurors their clients had been entrapped by the FBI. (A second trial resulted in the conviction of the remaining defendants thanks to interference by the judge.)
In a scathing closing argument during the first trial, Christopher Gibbons, Fox’s public defender, denounced the FBI’s conduct as “unacceptable in America. That’s not how it works. They don’t make terrorists so we can arrest them.”
Unfortunately, that is precisely what’s happening in America, and it’s beyond unacceptable—it threatens national security as the FBI ignores legitimate dangers and destroys innocent lives. Further, the definition of “domestic terrorism” is statutorily vague so it can apply to minor infractions in the Capitol protest, even for those who had no intention or knowledge that they were committing a crime. Absurd charges such as obstruction, conspiracy, and “parading” in the Capitol, a petty offense, are the equivalent of blowing up a jetliner or federal office building, according to the Biden regime.
And propping up the phony narrative requires the use of sketchy informants, often working at the direction of equally sketchy FBI handlers. Forcing the government to tell the whole truth in court about the CHS program undoubtedly will expose another crisis-level scandal at the irredeemably corrupt Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right and Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of the “Happy Hour Podcast with Julie and Liz.” She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “FBI Agent” by FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation. Background Photo “U.S. Department of Justice” by Bjoertvedt. CC BY-SA 3.0.