Roger Stone at center of leaked group chats among Jan. 6 insurrectionists: report
Roger Stone (Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds for AFP)

According to information provided by one of the participants, conservative political gadfly Roger Stone was at the center of a group chat named after him that included now-indicted militia members who participated in the Jan 6th insurrection.

While there have been reports that the supporter of Donald Trump was seen in the company of Oath Keepers acting as his bodyguards, the existence of the so-called F.O.S. — or Friends of Stone -- group chat may shed more light on the planning and activities of the riot that forced lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to flee for their lives.

According to the report from the New York Times, members of the chat included a rogues gallery of right-wing figures, 47 in all, including, "Owen Shroyer, the right-hand man of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; Enrique Tarrio, the onetime chairman of the Proud Boys; and Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia."

As the Times' Alan Feuer wrote, "While the origins of the group chat remain somewhat obscure, Friends of Stone has existed since at least 2019, when Mr. Stone was indicted in connection with the Russia investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, said one of its participants, Pete Santilli, a veteran right-wing radio host. According to Mr. Santilli, the group chat — hosted on the encrypted app Signal — was a kind of safe space where pro-Stone figures in politics and media, many of whom were banned from social media, could get together and trade links and stories about their mutual friend."

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According to Santilli, there was nothing untoward about the chat group, telling the Times, "The primary reason for the chat was to have a place for supporters to share stuff. You drop a link and everyone shares it on their non-traditional channels.”

The report continues, "After Mr. Trump’s defeat, Friends of Stone seemed to assume another purpose as Mr. Stone found himself in the middle of the accelerating Stop the Steal movement devised to challenge the results of the election. The Washington Post, citing footage from a Danish documentary film crew that was following Mr. Stone, said that in early November 2020, he asked his aides to direct those involved in the effort to monitor the chat for developments," adding, "In recent weeks, the Justice Department has expanded its investigation of the riot from those who physically attacked the Capitol to those who were not at the building but may have helped to shape or guide the violence. Investigators appear to be interested in finding any links between organizers who planned pro-Trump rallies at the Capitol that day and right-wing militants who took part in the assault."

The Times Feuer added, "The group chat’s membership list includes several people who fit that description."

You can read more here.