April 11, 2022 — With the recent acquittal of two defendants in the USA vs. Fox, et al, aka the Michigan “Whitmer Kidnapping Plot” case, and a mistrial on the other two defendants it seems that the FBI has been rebuked for the tactics it used in the case. The defense raised entrapment as a defense, which is legally hard to prove and very rarely is successful. This represents a sea change in the way the American public views the actions of federal law enforcement in their use of infiltration and informants.
Many commentators discussing the case see this as a relatively recent phenomenon, but it is not. The FBI has been employing these tactics for decades. Most people are familiar at least on a surface level of the FBI COINTELPRO operation, which back in the day was aimed at the left. It was used to target groups like the Black Panthers and civil rights groups for example. Much has been made of Cointelpro but most people are completely unaware of the FBI’s PATCON aka “Patriot Conspiracy” operation that was basically Cointelpro aimed at the right.
The Whitmer Caper, A Review
As a reminder for those who might be unfamiliar with the Michigan “Whitmer” case, I have devoted over a year to covering the case and you can do a search on our website to read my prior reporting to get caught up. On October 7, 2020 the FBI arrested a slew of men who they claimed had been plotting a domestic terror plot to kidnaping Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The men had been part of a small “militia” group called the Wolverine Watchmen. Even the left-leaning Buzzfeed news reported on the case, detailing how the FBI used at least 12 informants and two undercover FBI agents to infiltrate the group.
The problem with the government’s theory and narrative of the case is that it appears that the FBI, through its network of undercover agents and informants orchestrated the plot, happened to be the ones in leadership positions in the militia, provided the “field training exercises” the group engaged in, recruited people to join the militia, and funded much of the Watchmen’s activities. In short, the FBI was involved in every step of the way, to the point that the so-called “plotters” never would have met each other without the involvement of the FBI. The FBI’s agents and informants pressured the group to come up with a “plan” and when some of the members expressed their concerns with “kidnapping” and some members quit the group, the FBI’s main informant “Big Dan” effectively became the leader of the group.
“Big Dan,” aka Dan Chappel, claimed that he first came upon the group on Facebook. Interestingly, about two weeks after the arrests, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook testified before the Senate Commerce Committee and mentioned the caper:
October 28, 2020. Zuckerberg testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Facebook worked closely with the FBI to stop an FBI kidnapping plot. Bravo. pic.twitter.com/5ZGctAYtch
— Maze (@mazemoore) April 10, 2022
It calls into question many things, including how closely social media companies work with the federal government. Dan Chappel claimed he was on social media looking for groups supporting the Second Amendment when Facebook “algorithms” prompted him to the Wolverine Watchmen page. That was one of the alleged “militia” groups accused of plotting the kidnapping. At that time, the group totaled about 15 members and was primarily an online group. Even worse, we later learned that FBI informants created and administered many of the Facebook groups of the fake militias tied to the case. “He got that Facebook page courtesy of the federal government,” a defense attorney said of his client during the trial.
Fedscoop just reported in April of this year:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has purchased 5,000 licenses for an analytics tool for gathering open-source intelligence from multiple social media platforms.
In documents issued during the procurement process, the FBI said that prospective vendors would need to offer a tool that can search a wide range of different social media websites in multiple languages. The award of the licenses could be worth up to $27 million.
‘The tool shall be able to gather information from the following mandatory online and social media data sources: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Deep/Dark Web, VK, and Telegram,’ the bureau said. It added that the ability to search Snapchat, TikTok. Reddit, 8Kun, Gab, Parler, ask.fm, Weibo, Discord. and ‘additional fringe platforms, and other encrypted messaging platforms,’ would be a bonus. – Fedscoop
This is disturbing because it appears the FBI is continuing in its mission to infiltrate, radicalize and entrap American citizens. Another interesting thing to note is that Dan Chappel also claimed that at the time he discovered the group on Facebook he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service.
According to a Yahoo News expose, the USPS has been engaged in a covert operation to spy on American’s social media:
The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.
The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as ‘inflammatory’ postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.
‘Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,’ says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as ‘law enforcement sensitive’ and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. ‘Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.’ – Yahoo News
If there is a connection here between this program and how Dan Chappel discovered the group, we do not yet know. It is an interesting coincidence to say the least.
Dan’s story did not add up. Mr. Chappel is a U.S. Army Iraq war veteran and he claimed he “volunteered” to be an FBI informant after “stumbling” across the Wolverine Watchman on Facebook. He testified that after seeing the groups page, he applied to join the private group and was then admitted after being “vetted.” Dan said he wanted to join the group to maintain his “perishable” tactical skills that he learned from the military. Yet, at the time he joined the group they had only one member who had any sort of military experience, Joe Morrison. Morrison was a reservist Marine who worked as a mechanic part time and in fact had zero combat experience or tactical skills.
It is worth asking what training or tactical skills Dan hoped to acquire by joining a group that existed mostly online, and was filled with untrained and inexperienced civilian men. No one seemed interested in this though, so it went unaddressed at the trial. For his role in the caper, Dan told his FBI handling agent he was “building up his resume” by acting as an informant. One might ask, for whom? He also earned over $55,000.00, and received items like a smart watch and a new Microsoft Surface laptop.
It is clear from the evidence revealed at discovery, the FBI ran every single aspect of this “plot” and in my opinion, that was because it was part of an operation. We learned that FBI Special Agent Jayson Chambers opened this case as a TEI (Terrorism Enterprise Investigation) which is the highest tier domestic terror investigation at the FBI and requires permission from superiors. Further, he did so well before any so-called “plot” materialized. He even said in text messages to another FBI agent named “Amanda” that he had submitted the TEI paperwork for approval and would run the investigation that way “with or without approval.”
During the trial, we learned that at least three groups affiliated with the “Three Percenters” militia were funded by FBI informants. According to the defense attorney for Adam Fox, Adam’s role as a “high-raking militia” member was an FBI concoction. He described how Fox was named “head” of the “Michigan Branch” of the Three Percenters at a June 6, 2020 meeting in Dublin, Ohio that was organized by an FBI informant. Defense attorney Chris Gibbons went on to state that the other attendees of the “nationwide militia” meeting were the heads of the Tennessee and Missouri branches of the Three Percenters and were also both FBI informants. He said that the other two Three Percenters leaders who weren’t FBI informants, the head of the Virginia branch and Delaware branch, defendant Barry Croft were under FBI surveillance. It was around this time that FBI Informant Dan Chappel pushed to bring Fox into the Wolverine Watchmen. Fox was made an admin for a Facebook page that was set up by the federal government. After being made admin for the page, Fox was sent a message on Facebook by undercover FBI agent “mark,” and the so-called plot driven by the FBI escalated.
I encourage people to read my prior reporting to understand just how instrumental and corrupt the FBI was in this investigation, which was really an operation. When evidence began coming out via discovery in the case and at trial, it struck me that we were looking at what appeared to be a “PATCON” 2.0.