FBI reportedly paid an informant 54k in Whitmer ‘kidnapping’ case

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The 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a plot that was created and led by the FBI.

In fact, the latest court documents reported by The New York Times show that the very man who spearheaded the effort, “Big Dan,” was paid $54,000 from the FBI for his services.

According to the documents, Dan is a military veteran in his mid-30s who stumbled upon the Wolverine Watchmen militia’s Facebook page in early March of 2020. That was when the FBI’s plot began to take shape.

“Alarmed by [the Facebook group having alleged] discussions about targeting law enforcement officers, Dan reported them to the local police and eventually agreed to become an F.B.I. informant, he said in state court. … He was not alone. The F.B.I. deployed at least 12 informants, as well as several undercover agents,” the Times notes.

“Within weeks of joining, Dan took over the training exercises, introducing a much higher level of military tactics, defense lawyers said. They describe him as consulting closely with his main handler, Agent Jayson Chambers, on matters like who should participate in two surveillance trips to Ms. Whitmer’s cottage.”

A separate report by BuzzFeed News notes that his handler, Jayson Chambers, had “incorporated a private security firm and … spent much of 2019 trying to drum up business — in part by touting his FBI casework.”

“The reporting also uncovers significant new details about how Jayson Chambers attempted to parlay his FBI work hunting for terrorists into a private money-making venture. The business, called Exeintel, sought contracts in some cases worth millions of dollars to help institutions identify violent threats,” the report reads.

“A Twitter account linked to Chambers’ business appeared on at least two occasions to be privy to the workings of Chambers’ ongoing FBI investigations before they were made public and to have tweeted about the Michigan case before arrests were made.”

High-profile journalist and commentator Robby Soave of Reason magazine suspects that Chambers may have nudged Dan along to more easily “create a brand for himself.” The theory is that by creating a big plot that he knew he’d soon be busting, he could easily beef up his resume.

Dovetailing back to the present, one of the six actual militia members involved in the case pleaded guilty in January of 2021 and was sentenced to six years in prison last August. The other five instead chose to file for dismissal on the basis that they’re victims of FBI entrapment.

The five’s attorneys argue that they were just talking trash and never serious about hurting anybody. They say it wasn’t until “Big Dan” stumbled on the group and started bringing in other informants — who, for the record, greatly outnumbered the original six — that the conversation turned into something ostensibly real.

Soave argues that this in itself proves that the “plot” itself wasn’t real.

“[I]t is now clear that Whitmer was in no real danger. At all stages of the alleged plot, the FBI was aware of every facet: Their agents and informants were intimately involved—not just surveilling the militia members, but actively offering guidance on how to pull off the kidnapping,” he argues for Reason magazine.

The question now is whether this defense will fly.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who was instrumental in exposing the federal government’s illegal domestic surveillance operation, believes the evidence makes it clear that the “actual plotters” of the kidnapping “were the FBI.”

However, the dismissal filing has already been rejected.

“The men, who insist they were illegally influenced by rogue agents and informants, failed to meet a “heavy burden” to have the case dismissed at this point, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said. He said they must show evidence of inducement and their own ‘clear absence’ of interest in targeting Whitmer,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

This means that the defendants must prove their case to a jury starting March 8th. Soave for his part agrees that the plot “looks an awful lot like entrapment.”

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Vivek Saxena

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