We’ve been warned for decades about the growing threat of white nationalism in the United States. Back in 2020, FBI director Christopher Wray acknowledged that white supremacy is the fastest growing domestic terror threat in the country, accounting for the large proportion of the FBI’s resources. Wray eventually described the J6 insurrection last year, as an act of domestic terror.
This reality is often drowned out by an avalanche of falsehoods perpetuated by the media, especially conservative media. The greatest threat to US security is posed by the existential enemy from outside, we are told. Islamic extremists, or criminals making their way across the border, are the greatest obstacles for national security.
We are told that the radical woke left, as well as those pesky Black Lives Matter protesters armed with their anti-white critical race theory, pose a danger to cities across the country as well as the minds of innocent white school children.
These fallacies have taken root, even in the minds of what many would describe as respectable Middle Americans.
All the above simply isn’t the case. It’s a smokescreen, distraction and reaction, to the very real danger that white supremacy, or the enemy within, poses to democracy. J6 revealed the menace that unchecked white supremacy presents when bolstered by brazen confidence.
The fanatics and cohorts who swarmed the US Capitol believed their divinely ordained moment had arrived. Many saw their defense of white supremacy as the fulfilment of an almost biblical prophecy, a duty, themselves modern-day crusaders in MAGA hats, defending all that is white and pristine.
They might attempt to shroud it in patriotism, but in actuality it’s the very opposite of anything virtuous. These people are dangerous. And not nearly enough is being done to stop them in their tracks.
We’ve seen the lacklustre sentences that many of the assailants have been given. We’ve seen, too, the reluctance of the media to even describe them as terrorists.
What happens, though, when the very organizations supposedly tasked with tackling such threats have themselves become part of the mix, for all the wrong reasons?
Look no further than the curious case of Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s governor. In late 2020, the FBI announced it had “foiled” a plot to kidnap her. Those involved were part of the Wolverine Watchmen, a group that shares ties and ideologies with the Boogaloo movement, another violent far-right extremist group.
Since late 2020, we've learned a few things.
While the case against the assailants has been building, it came to light that one of those involved in the plot was an FBI informant. Not only that, but it has also since been claimed that the agent in question was actually aiding the terrorists.
The FBI has ID’d Stephen Robeson as a “double agent,”’ presenting him as going against the orders of the FBI.
But now, in another dramatic twist in the plot, a lawyer for one of the defendants, Adam Fox, has slammed the prosecution, claiming that the FBI knew exactly what Robeson was up to. He actively helped advance the plan to kidnap Whitmer.
The claim is apparently backed up by a court filing and a 2020 audio recording supposedly heard by lead FBI agents. Another informant confirmed to Fox that Robeson was indeed offering to use charity funds to purchase weapons to carry out the attack on Whitmer.
Defense attorneys for the five facing charges want all charges dismissed, citing the numerous questions about the FBI's shady squad, including the involvement of yet another agent on the case. Richard Trask was accused of domestic violence and later fired by the Feds. Robeson, too, has a criminal rap sheet dating back to the 1980s.
Assailants facing charges are due in court in March. But while we wait for the truth to prevail, and for the full extent of the FBI's involvement to come to light, many will be left pondering – did the FBI recruit questionable character out of simple incompetence? Or if the claim that the FBI knew exactly what was going on turns out to be true, who becomes accountable and what will be done about it?
Even if the FBI’s defense is true, and their dangerous recruits were down to shoddy decision-making, what if the plot to kidnap Whitmer had been a success?
The relationship between the FBI and many notable controversies over the years are well-known and have been well documented.
In 2022, the case of the plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer ultimately raises, once again, the age old uncomfortable question: Who investigates and polices the FBI?
The public deserves answers.