- A member of the far-right Proud Boys and FBI informant was texting his handler during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, The New York Times reported.
- The FBI was investigating at least two other January 6 rioters with potential ties to the Proud Boys, according to the report.
- The records appear to show the FBI had advanced knowledge that Proud Boys members were headed toward the Capitol.
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A member of the Proud Boys who was working as an FBI informant was present at the January 6 riot at the US Capitol and sent his FBI handler live updates by text message, indicating the law enforcement agency had real-time knowledge that a pro-Trump mob was headed toward the building.
According to a report published Saturday by The New York Times, the informant was updating his handler as the pro-Trump mob marched toward the US Capitol 6 while lawmakers were meeting inside to discuss and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
The informant, who was associated with the Midwestern chapter of the organization, told the FBI that members of the Proud Boys were following the mob but maintained the group didn’t have plans to attack the US Capitol.
The informant described meeting up with other members of the Proud Boys at the Washington Monument on the morning of January 6 before they moved to the Capitol, records show, according to the Times. The informant described seeing barriers knocked over and Trump supporters entering the building.
The handler didn’t appear to understand that the Capitol had been breached, according to the records obtained by the Times. The records were provided to the outlet on the grounds it would not quote directly from them, according to the report.
The informant began working with federal investigators in July 2020, records said, according to the Times.
The records do not indicate whether the informant could’ve intentionally misled federal investigators, according to the report. The informant’s statements pose difficulties for federal prosecutors who aim to make the case that rioters at the capitol associated with the Proud Boys in advance planned to storm the building.
Prosecutors have filed conspiracy charges against 15 members of the Proud Boys relating to the January 6 riot, The Times noted. In total, at least 654 people have faced charges related to their participation in the January 6 riot, according to an Insider database.
The FBI was investigating at least two other people involved in the January 6 riot who may have been connected to the Proud Boys, according to the report.
A person familiar with the situation told The New York Times the FBI had another informant present on January 6 who was affiliated with another chapter of the Proud Boys.
“While the F.B.I.’s standard practice is not to discuss its sources and methods, it is important to understand that sources provide valuable information regarding criminal activity and national security matters,” the FBI told The New York Times in a statement.