The next big conspiracy on January 6? It was the FBI – Mother Jones

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At least six Republicans have promoted a new conspiracy theory that January 6 was incited and directed by an FBI asset. Mihoko Awada / AP

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Last Thursday, at a press conference with Right Side Broadcasting Network outside the United States Capitol on the anniversary of January 6, Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene wove an increasingly popular conspiracy theory to explain the horrific events that occurred: It was the feds.

“I’m beginning to think that this was less of an insurrection and more of a ‘federal surrection,'” Gaetz said, offering a play on words that elicited groans as proof of the seriousness of the allegations.

After months of claiming that the rioters were only harmless tourists, or what was the work of the antifa and Black Lives Matter plants, now several Republican members of Congress have turned a corner, adopting a spurious claim that it was the Federal Bureau of Investigation, specifically an agent provocateur named Ray Epps. Known on social media as #FedBoomer or #BigMagaCamo, Epps, these people claim, was a decisive figure in planning, inciting and directing Trump supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6.

Representative Troy Nehls of Texas tweeted, “Why is Ray Epps free?” Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina tweeted Who is Ray Epps?

The only problem is the lack of solid evidence. Ray Epps is a real person, he was on Capitol Hill on January 6 and so far he has not been charged with any crime, that is true. But there is nothing to suggest that he is working for the FBI; in fact, it is a public information reveals Oath keeper.

According to the New York Times, the theory began to ferment with a post on the 4chan online forum, as many do. But the mastermind behind the Ray Epps theory is Darren Beattie, whose January 6 writing has been repeatedly prompted by Tucker Carlson, and who appeared on Fox News anchors. Patriot Purge documentary film. “What the evidence suggests is one of the biggest scandals in American history,” Beattie he told carlson in an appearance on the show on the first anniversary of the Capitol Riots. (Beattie is a former Trump speechwriter who was fired after it was revealed that she appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, founder of the white nationalist website VDare.)

So far, the “evidence” actually suggests something that is far from what Beattie describes. While the the fbi does it have a story recklessly configuring Bogus terrorist plots using informants, especially as a tool in the war on terror, “Ray Epps” as an FBI agent is speculative at best and basically non-existent. From all the available reports, Epps appears to be a rancher in Arizona who went to Washington, DC, like many others, to demonstrate for Trump. As reported in the New York Times other Politifact, it seems that it was one of the many angry members of the small business owner class they headed to Washington. Your confirmed connection is not to the federal government; It is for the Oath Keepers. In 2011, Eps what is listed as President of the Arizona Oath Keeper State Chapter and was featured in a photo with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. (Epps did not return a request for comment.)

So how did this happen?

October 25, Beattie began making her point in a wildly long series of articles on the Revolver News website, identifying Epps as a “Federal Reserve-protected provocateur” at the center of a January 6 conspiracy. Beattie claimed that Epps is an FBI asset whose actions were instrumental in inciting the violent siege of the US Capitol on January 6. Using as evidence that “[l]surprising was 0 out of 491 at Trump’s rallies before January 6 ”(which is no remotely certain) Beattie reasons that it would take an agent provocateur to provoke violence among Trump supporters.

The alleged smoking gun is a series of Epps videos on the afternoon of January 5, 2021. In a crowd of Trump supporters, Epps yells that the next day “we have to go to the Capitol, peacefully!” This elicits responses from the crowd (one of which looks a lot like the Baked Alaska troll) of “Fed! Fed! Fed! “In another video, Beattie’s most damning alleged evidence, Epps is seen moments before the first perimeter outside the Capitol was breached, cupping his hand and speaking into another man’s ear, who then walks through the fence. The man turned out be Ryan Samsel, who was later arrested for assaulting a federal agent.

For Beattie, this is proof that Epps ordered the group to break through the fence, laying the crucial foundation for the insurrection that followed. In the video, several other men have clearly already decided to move on when Epps gave his supposedly causal marching orders.

The theory was reinforced at a hearing on October 21, when Representative Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, told Attorney General Merrick Garland that “there is a concern that there were government agents or government assets present on the 5th and 6th. from January. during the protests ”. Massie then took out a tablet and played the videos of Epps on January 5-6, in which Epps tells the crowd that they should go to the capitol, for Garland. “From what we can find, this individual has not been charged with anything,” said Massie, who first tweeted about Epps in July. Garland declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

This proves, in the minds of Beattie and other defenders of the Epps theory, that the government is protecting Epps and that he is an agent or an asset. The other evidence from Beattie connecting Epps to the FBI is that at one point Epps appeared and was later removed from an FBI Capitol Riots Most Wanted list. The gist is simple: Epps has not yet been arrested, that means he is an asset. (Of course, it could easily mean that Epps was detained and questioned by the FBI and is cooperating.)

This idea also requires doing without much of what is fairly easy to understand about Ray Epps. It is not particularly difficult to find. After the insurrection, he what was interviewed by central arizona (apparently rare for an FBI agent or asset to do so) where he clarified that he was on Capitol Hill on January 6.

The videos used against Epps are also not particularly incriminating. Maybe Epps planned to break into the Capitol and then when it got too serious and real, he tried to calm the crowd. Beattie finds this especially suspicious. It seems understandable to me. “The only thing that meant,Epps said about the video of him yelling at people to enter the capitol to central arizona, is that we would enter through the doors like everyone else. It was totally, totally wrong the way they got in. “Silly Trump-era explanation? Yes. Is it plausible that once your plan to storm the Capitol came true, you backed off out of fear of a serious prison sentence? Yes.

Dismissing all cases of FBI agents embedded in extremist groups is naive. The New York Times Has confirmed that the FBI admitted that there was an informant present at the Capitol mutiny integrated with the Proud Boys and even texted his controller that day. Meanwhile, in the attempted kidnapping of the Governor of Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer, the defendants have claimed they were misled by an FBI informant, and the The FBI claims he was a “double agent.” But in the case of Epps, and January 6 in general, the evidence is scant. The theory would mean that the FBI allegedly planted a covert asset that used his real name and was recorded telling people to protest, “peaceably. ” They then posted the image of their asset on their most wanted list.

If you are looking for an instigator, there seems to be a more obvious answer. It was not Ray Epps who addressed an audience of thousands and directed them to walk to the Capitol saying, “You will never take back our country in weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count voters who have been legally registered, legally registered ”. It was Donald Trump.

In fact, Trump has liked the Fedsurrection theory. On Sunday, Trump praised Beattie through a press release. He said: “Congratulations to Darren Beattie and Revolver News who have exposed much of the Fake News false narrative on January 6.” He continues: “The newly coined term ‘Fedsurrection’ was even in vogue!”

Much remains to be discovered about why the events of January 6 happened the way they did. But claiming, based on the available evidence, that Ray Epps’ actions were decisive in orchestrating an event of this magnitude is close to magical thinking, and too convenient for those looking for a silver bullet to exonerate their complicity on January 6. . , the result of a months-long assault on the democratic process in the United States.

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