The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had so many informants and undercover operatives in the crowd during the January 6 Capitol protests that they lost count and ultimately needed an audit to determine the exact number, according to Steven D’Antuono, who previously served as the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
D’Antuono has testified behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee that the Washington Field Office knew that a number of informants would be in attendance for the rally. He was not aware of the presence of informants from additional FBI field offices across the country, however, according to a report from the New York Post.
The Washington field office ultimately had to ask FBI headquarters “to do a poll or put out something to people saying w[ere] any confidential human sources involved,” in order to determine how prevalent the bureau’s presence was at the Capitol. “We started getting responses back” from FBI headquarters, D’Antuono said, which helped to determine which field offices had assets present in the crowd.
One paid informant from the Kansas City field office was in communication with his FBI handler as the crowd began to enter the building. “While they were in the crowd, I think, saying that they were going in,” D’Antuono recalled.
The former leading FBI official did not provide an exact number when testifying before lawmakers about the findings of the audit, saying only that a “handful” of informants were in the crowd.
In total, the FBI spends more than 42-million-dollars a year on Confidential Human Sources, according to an analysis from the DOJ Office of Inspector General. The inspector general’s office has raised concerns about the vetting process for CHS assets in the past, the New York Post reported.
FBI lost count of how many paid informants were at Capitol on Jan. 6 — later performed audit to figure out exact number: ex-official https://t.co/cpvocdDlwz pic.twitter.com/REugRCVmu5
— New York Post (@nypost) September 19, 2023
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) penned a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday in which he described D’Antuono’s testimony as “extremely concerning.”
The former Washington field office chief’s statements suggests that “the FBI cannot adequately track the activities and operations of its informants, and that it lost control of its CHSs present at the Capitol on January 6,” Jordan wrote. “These revelations reinforce existing concerns, identified by Special Counsel [John] Durham, about the FBI’s use of, and payment to, CHSs who have fabricated evidence and misrepresented information,” the letter continued.
“The Justice Department Inspector General also identified critical problems in the FBI’s CHS program,” Jordan continued. “Including the FBI’s failure to fully vet CHSs and the FBI’s willingness to ignore red flags that would call into question an informant’s reliability.”
Wray has repeatedly denied Congressional requests to provide a full accounting of the bureau’s presence on January 6, stating that doing so would violate the bureau’s policies on handling of Confidential Human Sources.
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund recently told Tucker Carlson that the FBI had at least 18 paid informants in the crowd that day, while the Department of Homeland Security had at least 20.