by Julie Kelly
A top official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation repeatedly refused to disclose how many FBI agents and informants were involved in the Capitol protest on January 6, 2021.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning, Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch, cited privileged protocols as to why she would not tell Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) the number of FBI assets that “actively participated” in the protest. “Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into sources and methods,” Sanborn, who served as assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division when the protest erupted on January 6 and would have full knowledge of FBI undercover operations, told Cruz.
The Texas senator also demanded to know if FBI agents committed any violent crimes or incited any violent crimes on January 6. Sanborn again declined to answer. Presenting photos of Ray Epps, a man caught on video on both January 5 and 6, imploring people to “go into the Capitol” but has not been charged with any crime, Cruz asked Sanborn whether she knew Epps. “I’m aware of the individual, sir, I don’t have the specific background to him,” Sanborn replied.
“Miss Sanborn, was Ray Epps a fed?” Cruz asked. Again, Sanborn said she could not answer the question. Cruz also asked why, based on reporting by Darren Beattie at Revolver News, Epps’ “magically disappeared” from the FBI’s Most Wanted List related to January 6.
Again, Sanborn had no answer.
According to a recent Newsweek investigative report, the Justice Department stationed elite FBI forces at the FBI training academy in Quantico the weekend before January 6; hundreds of agents were deployed to the Capitol grounds that morning.
In September, the New York Times confirmed that FBI informants infiltrated the Proud Boys, an alleged militia group, and participated in the first breach of the Capitol perimeter right before 1 p.m. The man seen with the Proud Boys before the first intrusion was Ray Epps.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) asked Matthew Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, whether any plain-clothes officers were at the Capitol on January 6. Olsen, who announced today the formation of a domestic terror unit within DOJ, said he was not “aware” of any plainclothes officers within the crowd or inside the building on January 6. Cotton slammed Olsen for repeatedly refusing to give the committee specific answers. “Did you prepare for this hearing, did you know this hearing was happening before this morning, Cotton asked Olsen.
Cotton also pressed Olsen about Epps; Olsen deferred the question to Sanborn. “Do you really expect us to believe you’ve never heard the name Ray Epps, you don’t know anything about him?” Cotton asked. Olsen said he had “no information at all” about Epps.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right and Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of the “Happy Hour Podcast with Julie and Liz.” She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “FBI Agent” by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Background Photo “DC Capitol Storming” by TapTheForwardAssist. CC BY-SA 4.0.