FBI headquarters had to conduct a poll to find out how many of its paid informants were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, a former FBI assistant director told lawmakers.
Steven D’Antuono, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, testified to the House Judiciary Committee in June that he only learned of paid informants, or confidential human sources (CHS), traveling from other field offices after a poll was conducted by FBI headquarters. Other field offices knew some of their informants would be present on Jan. 6, while some came “on their own accord,” according to D’Antuono.
“I don’t remember at what point, but I think at one point we were like, we need to know how many CHSes were here, because that’s going to be a question,” he said, according to the transcript. “So I think we asked headquarters to do a poll or put out something to people saying was any CHSes involved. And I think that’s when we started getting responses back.”
One informant from the Kansas City Field Office was communicating with his FBI handler “while in the crowd,” D’Antuono affirmed. D’Antuono said it was possible the Washington field office knew about some informants beforehand but that he was not told.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said in a Tuesday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that the information D’Antuono shared was “extremely concerning.”
“It 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,” he wrote. “These revelations reinforce existing concerns, identified by Special Counsel Durham, about the FBI’s use of, and payment to, CHSs who have fabricated evidence and misrepresented information.”
Jordan requested further briefings on how the FBI utilized informants on Jan. 6.
A defense attorney for Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola claimed in court documents that there were at least 40 undercover informants performing surveillance on Jan. 6. Wray has repeatedly declined to say whether the FBI had informants in the crowd.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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