This is not an exoneration of those that broke the law on January 6th, 2021. All violations, including those of law enforcement, should be investigated. And where warranted, charges brought.
The story of January 6th until now. Only the planners know the exact date the story was hatched. Most likely just after the loss of Donald Trump to now President Joe Biden. Who actually hatched the plan remains open for speculation. Though mercurial and unpredictable, the now Lame Duck President could be expected to raise a fuss about the election results, and his voters would be easy to manipulate as they poured into D.C. for the "Stop The Steal" rally. It was time for the kill shot and to end Orange Man once and for all.
Much has been speculated as to how the Capitol Hill Police Force, D.C. Metro PD, and the National Park Service could have failed in such spectacular fashion. Anyone who dares even to suggest there may have been a conscious effort on the part of the Democrat leadership to allow for some degree of failure is met with rabid attacks from all directions. These organizations have close to 500 years of combined experience handling large crowds. After all, President Trump's offer of the National Guard was turned down—what could go wrong? The trap was set for stupid people to do stupid things—and they did. The trespassers halted House proceedings for less than four hours.
Final Chapter and Epilogue
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats repeatedly howled that our democracy was attacked by armed insurrectionists led by the loser of the 2020 election, Donald J. Trump. The very foundations of our country were almost destroyed if not for the heroic actions of the Capitol Hill joint police forces. Four of them gave their lives in defense of "our democracy." Never mind that we live in a Constitutional Republic or that no law enforcement was killed on January 6th.
J6 Becomes A High Holy Day
Capitol Police released a statement saying Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away Thursday night "due to injuries sustained while on duty." NPR reported; Brian Sicknick, Capitol Police Officer Slain By Mob, Lies In Honor In Rotunda. No one can challenge that the young Officer Sicknick was called home too soon. His untimely death, though tragic, was unrelated to the events of J6. Yet that fact did not stop his beatification by Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats. Years later, many in the Democrat sphere still claim that Sicknick was beaten to death by a riotous mob. Yet even the Left-leaning Politifact wrote that a complete autopsy found that officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes after the January 6th assault on the Capitol, with no sign that any injury or reaction to chemical irritants played a role.
Enter The FBI
On the evening of January 6th, 2021, the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) sent out the first email across the Bureau to all 56 Fusion Centers, recapping the events that unfolded the afternoon of January 6th. On January 7th, the SIOC communication channel was taken over by the Washington Field Office and Domestic Terrorism Operations Center (DTOS). Fusion Centers vary in size, but for this article, we'll say that ten people are in each Fusion Center each work day. The Fusion Centers are jointly staffed by DHS, FBI, State, and local personnel. Also, in the communication chain were hundreds of State and Local Law Enforcement, political appointees, and elected officials. On any given day for nearly a year, WFO, and sometimes DTOS, were broadcasting a carefully crafted narrative of an armed insurrection via email and conference calls. CNN, MSNBC, NPR, NY Times, and Washington Post echoed these official communications daily.
In my eleven years with the FBI, I have never seen the Bureau "crowdsource" leads. Not in the usual Tip Line manner but injecting detailed information into official Bureau records and sending to Field Offices as Guardian Leads. DTOS had an open spreadsheet where anyone with an FBI Unclassified Network (UNET) account could populate. That spreadsheet remained open to anyone with a UNET account for nearly two business weeks before a mechanism was created to receive inputs on a case-by-case basis.
The Official Mouthpieces
ASAC Timothy Thibault of the Washington Field Office, DTOS Section Chief Steve Jensen, and Steven M. D'Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office, picked up the megaphone on the morning of January 7th. For over a month, thousands participated in twice-daily nationwide conference calls, where anyone with a phone could dial in and listen to the official voices of the FBI. These three individuals were authorized to speak for the FBI. So empowered, thousands listened each day to the official narrative.
D'Antuono was the lead-off speaker those first few weeks—usually in the morning. Each day he would recap the events of January 6th, including injuries, deaths, and arrests. Conference call participants were left with no doubt that this was the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Though hyperbolic, D'Antuono's delivery was masterful.
The afternoons were usually Thibault and Jensen. Thibault filled the role of D'Antuono— whipping up into a frenzy of how "we nearly lost our democracy." During the few instances of more measured summaries, Thibault would highlight who the FBI was working with to bring these insurrectionists to heel. The duo made clear that this was a whole-of-government effort and that "we're all in this together."
Jensen was more of a nuts-and-bolts speaker. He would lay out broad guidelines for investigations and reporting. As the winter months warmed and more information came to light, it became clear to many in the Bureau that scores of these investigations lacked predication. Jensen's irritation with these now FBI-only calls was evident. Finally, in April, he snapped at the Baltimore Field Office, saying, "We're going to round these mother fuckers up! They're goddamn insurrectionists!"
Fleshing-out The Story
Thibault, Jensen, and D'Antuono were the official spokespersons of the FBI. They spoke to thousands of non-federal law enforcement personnel daily, proclaiming that our country was filled with violent insurrectionists. Their breathless accounts of the insurrection and valiant defense of the U.S. Capitol matched perfectly with mainstream news outlets and Democrats from the House and Senate daily appearances. Instead of opening cases in D.C., where the event took place, Field Offices across the country were instructed to open cases on people whom WFO identified as being in the Capitol, traveled to the Capitol, or whose neighbors suspected were in the Capitol. It made perfect sense to the average citizen when FBI Director Wray testified that; "we're seeing a rise of extremism across the country."
The Capstone of the entire drama was the J6 Committee. To ensure that no emotional effect would be lost during the otherwise dry hearings, James Goldston was employed by the J6 Committee to add sound to the silent videos of protestors entering the Capitol. Goldston was the former president of ABC News and a master documentary storyteller who ran "Good Morning America" and "Nightline."
Over 1,000 "insurrectionists" have been arrested to date, and another ~1,000 more by the end of 2023, according to WFO. The FBI maintains its assertion of violent extremism sweeping the country. As of the date of this writing, no one has been charged with insurrection. But let's not let facts get in the way of a good story.
The author served 26 years in the U.S. Military, 13 years Active Duty USMC, and 13 USNR Post 9-11. He is a former NSA employee and now retired FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst. He can be found on Twitter @SeniorChiefEXW and Truth Social @JarheadGeorge.