Last October, in a story that grabbed headlines for weeks, members of a Right-wing militia group were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The news of the plot horrified the nation. It was a sick, depraved act by people with warped fantasies about inflicting pain on a sitting governor in retaliation for her burdensome COVID lockdown.
After the arrests were made, people across the political spectrum—even Whitmer’s biggest critics—agreed that it was obviously a good thing that the plot failed.
However, there seems to have been more to the story than we were first told.
There are now questions about the FBI’s role in the kidnapping plot. Specifically, it’s been called into question whether FBI informants entrapped the planned participants of the plot. Would the kidnapping plot have moved forward without the FBI?
These are serious questions that need to be answered, especially given questions about the FBI’s role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Similar claims have been made in regards to FBI informants knowing about—and possibly even encouraging and instigating—the events of January 6th.
Buzzfeed, typically a Leftwing site, did a rare piece of in-depth reporting about the Whitmer kidnapping plot…and when the media does some good reporting, it is noteworthy.
Jessica Garrison and Ken Bensinger of Buzzfeed were the authors of the report and they outlined the contents of their report to NPR.
(The investigative report itself is long, but if you would like to read it for yourself, it can be found here.)
The following is a partial transcript of the NPR interview with the authors and NPR’s Ailsa Chang:
“Dan is an Army veteran. [became an FBI informant and one of the top officers in the militia group] He served in Iraq and came back to civilian life in Michigan, but he continued to be a firearms enthusiast and a Second Amendment enthusiast. And he was surfing Facebook looking for people who were interested like him in firearms and also in training. He was looking for people he could talk to about guns and who he could train with. And Facebook’s recommendation engine suggested he check out a group called the Wolverine Watchmen.
CHANG: Right. He thought it was just a training group at the time, but then he realized it wasn’t quite that. So what did he do at that point?
GARRISON: Well, he gets into this group, and pretty soon, he’s in the main chat. And in the main chat, he sees discussions about, you know, downloaded, like, a hunting app that can be used to hunt police officers. And he’s like, oh, my gosh. So what he does is he goes to a friend of his who is a police officer at a local police department and shows him his phone. And at that point, the friend goes to the FBI and connects Dan to the FBI. And Dan really thinks he’s just going to tell the FBI about this and go on with his life. But when he meets with the FBI, the agents have a different idea for him and they suggest that he actually get deeper into the group but with the FBI watching every step of the way.
CHANG: Right. Dan ends up wearing a wire for months, right?
GARRISON: Dan ends up wearing a wire for months. And Dan also, because he is a trained soldier, winds up second in command of this group.
CHANG: OK. Well, one thing that Dan does eventually is he brings in a man named Adam Fox. He actually calls Fox from an FBI office as agents are listening in and he invites Fox to come meet the Watchmen. What did you find out through your reporting about why law enforcement encouraged this, like, wanted someone like Adam Fox into this whole arrangement?
BENSINGER: Adam Fox is a guy in his late 30s who is a weightlifter and a person who’s been very interested in so-called militia type groups for a long time. He’s been a member of several militia groups, which he got thrown out of mostly because of anger issues or he would get in fights with other members. But he seemed a bit in search of a mission and a team to belong to. He reaches out to the Watchmen because a third party suggested to him that there might be someone he could train with and might have similar ideas. And when he does, Dan, the FBI informant, very quickly steps forward, kind of seizes the bull by the horns, gets him on recorded phone calls, talking about him spending time with the Watchmen, meeting them and training with them. We don’t have specific evidence showing what they told Dan to do with regards to Adam Fox. We do see at least three or four other names where the FBI was explicitly telling Dan, hey, why don’t you take this guy along, too? Why don’t you bring that guy and invite him, too?
CHANG: OK. I now want to fast-forward a little bit and jump to another remarkable scene in this whole story, and that’s in early September. Members of the group have driven to northern Michigan in the middle of the night. What are they doing there?
GARRISON: Well, they’re trying to find Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home because, you know, the plan has evolved that they’re going to try to seize her from that vacation home and, you know, maybe put her on a boat in Lake Michigan, maybe take her to Wisconsin and put her on trial for being a tyrant. But it’s sort of a dry run to go up and take a look at her vacation home.
CHANG: OK. That said, I’m curious, do you think that the plot would have gotten so far, as far as it did without the FBI’s involvement?
BENSINGER: It’s a great question. What we do know is that these are a bunch of people who are angry and had lots of ideas. But we don’t really know if all sort of the different ingredients of that final stew would have ever come together without the government. To what degree is the fact that the FBI’s paying for transportation for people, paying for housing, in some cases, even paying for food, how much is that pushing things way further down the line they would have ever happened?
I suspect the FBI is going to make the argument that it never – was never the first person to say we should kidnap the governor. But the defendants are going to say, you put us together; you made this all happen. And we just had fantasies and you were – we were leaning on us. That’s going to be the defense.
It may turn out that the FBI was simply following up a lead about a plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer. In that case, the informants are heroes, and they deserve a debt of gratitude.
However, there are outstanding questions that need to be answered, most importantly: would the plot have ever been hatched if it wasn’t for the FBI informants who infiltrated the militia?
Time will tell…or will it?
It is hard to believe anything the government tells us anymore.
The Deeps State has that effect.