According to a report from Rolling Stones' Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley, the FBI was encouraged to track the activities of the far-right domestic terrorism group Patriot Front in Idaho over a year ago in documents that were just released.
The report notes that police in Idaho worked hand in hand with FBI officials dating back to, at least, August 2021 as their acts of vandalism began to accelerate and Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer raised the red flag.
According to the report, "New documents show how Idaho cops and FBI agents were tracking white nationalists from Patriot Front months before the group was arrested this month for allegedly conspiring to attack a local LGBT Pride event in Coeur d’Alene," adding, "Those agents also helped Coeur d’Alene police prepare for Patriot Front’s alleged conspiracy to riot at a June Pride event, when local law enforcement arrested 31 members of the group."
The report adds that reports of vandalism by members of the extremist, racist organization reached critical mass in August of last year, leading to Mayor Widmyer to ask police to investigate. In an email, he wrote, "We need to catch these people. Disgusting."
Rolling Stone reports, "The FBI had warned local police about the activity before. In a list of Patriot Front-related vandalism incidents, local police noted that the FBI had reported 'two males' who they 'reported walking up and down 4th St putting propaganda stickers on light poles that read ‘for the nation against the state,’ alongside Patriot Front’s website address. The feds were 'Unable to locate the individuals involved,' according to call notes associated with the incident."
With the report pointing out that it is "unclear just how much time and attention the FBI has spent monitoring Patriot Front," former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, explained, "This is not unusual. When I would conduct long-term investigations of criminal organizations, I would frequently direct federal law enforcement and agents I was working with to tip off local police departments, if we came across information that there may be a serious danger to the health or safety of others. Oftentimes, we would not tell the departments how exactly we came across this information, but we would do this even if we were investigating a different crime or conducting a separate long-term investigation.”
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