FBI and informant roles cloud Michigan governor’s kidnapping case
Defense attorneys using this same trove of evidence constructed an entirely different scenario of what happened. They portray the defendants as reluctant puppets trapped by FBI agents and informants who they believe invented the kidnapping plot.
Within weeks of joining, Dan resumed training exercises, introducing a much higher level of military tactics, defense attorneys said. They describe him as consulting closely with his main manager, Constable Jayson Chambers, on issues such as who should go on two surveillance trips to Mrs Whitmer’s cottage.
The suspects discussing the violence on the tapes or in encrypted conversations was just inflammatory rhetoric, the defense says. Prosecutors say Adam Fox, 38, the ringleader of the group, lived in the basement of a friend’s vacuum cleaner shop where he worked, talking about assaulting the Michigan state house in the the very moment “Big Dan” was getting involved.
Defense attorneys in the federal case declined or ignored requests for comment, while a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney in western Michigan said the office would not discuss ongoing criminal cases. The FBI referred the questions to the US attorney.
Undercover operations using informants are a tricky tactic in terrorism cases. In those developed after the September 11 attacks, FBI agents often intervened when someone expressed an interest in joining al-Qaeda or fomenting some sort of terrorist act. If suspects had trouble agreeing on a conspiracy or acquiring weapons, informants or undercover agents would sometimes help them assess criminal intent.
Critics of such FBI methods, such as Michael German, a former undercover FBI agent, accuse the agency of acting like Cecil B. DeMille, fabricating complicated and theatrical scenarios rather than pursuing the more complex task of unearthing real extremist plots.
Mr German, who is now a member of the Liberty & National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said: ‘Rather than focusing on and investigating these crimes, there seems to be more interest in this method. conspiracies for the FBI to solve.