In a recent revelation, it has come to light that several FBI informants were present among the crowd at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. This information was shared by Steven D’Antuono, who held the position of assistant director at the FBI’s Washington field office until his retirement in November 2022. During his testimony to Congress, D’Antuono clarified that he only became aware of these informants after the event.
D’Antuono emphasized that the Washington field office should have dispatched these informants to the event. Some informants might have attended the event independently without prior intimation to the FBI. He stated, “Citizens have every right to protest, and we respect that right. If an informant was present and informed us later, it doesn’t imply any covert operation by the FBI.”
Throughout the investigation, the presence of these informants became a focal point. D’Antuono mentioned, “We felt the need to ascertain the number of informants present, as it would inevitably be a topic of interest.” Feedback from various field offices confirmed the presence of several informants.
One notable informant, hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, was allowed to break the law if necessary for his safety. This individual was in constant communication with his FBI handler during the event.
D’Antuono further elaborated on the protocols for informants. Ideally, if an informant from one field office enters the jurisdiction of another, the latter should be informed. However, this only sometimes happens in practice. He explained the importance of this protocol, stating, “In case of unforeseen incidents like a shooting, it’s crucial to know who’s on the ground.”
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General has highlighted that the FBI allocates approximately $42 million annually to its informant program. However, the bureau needs to notice the guidelines for managing these informants.
During this testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, D’Antuono’s revelations sparked concerns. Attorneys defending the January 6 participants have claimed the presence of over 50 informants from various agencies on that day. While Steven Sund, the former U.S. Capitol Police chief, confirmed the presence of informants and undercover agents, D’Antuono assured that there were no FBI agents in the crowd.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House committee, expressed his concerns about the FBI’s management of informants. He stated, “D’Antuono’s testimony underscores our apprehensions about the FBI’s recruitment, screening, and deployment of informants.” He added that the revelations indicate potential lapses in the FBI’s ability to monitor and control its informants, especially during the Capitol event on January 6.
In light of these revelations, Rep. Jordan has requested a comprehensive briefing from the FBI on the role of informants during the January 6 event and any specific guidelines they might have received. He also seeks access to all documents detailing reports from these sources.
While the presence of informants at the Capitol on January 6 raises questions, it’s essential to understand their role and the broader context in which they operated. The Republican party remains committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in all matters of national importance.