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FBI lost track of 'large number' of undercover informants at the Capitol on January 6 — had to put out 'poll' to determine exact number
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FBI lost track of 'large number' of undercover informants at the Capitol on January 6 — had to put out 'poll' to determine exact number

The FBI lost track of the "large number" of paid undercover informants it had at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to a former bureau official, the New York Post reported.

Former Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Steven D'Antuono recently testified to the House Judiciary Committee that the agency had to put out a "poll" to determine how many "Confidential Human Sources" were at the Capitol protest.

In a Tuesday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R) expressed concerns about how the bureau handles and screens its paid undercover informants.

"We recently learned from a former senior FBI official that there was internal ambiguity about how many FBI CHSs were present at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, so much so that the FBI had to put out a 'poll' to determine the exact number of FBI sources present that day," the committee told Wray. "We also learned that at least one FBI CHS was in communication with his handler that day as events unfolded."

D'Antuono testified that the FBI knew in advance that some of its CHSs would attend the protest but that several unknown CHSs attended of their own accord. He noted that his field office was aware that some of its informants would be at the event but was unaware that CHSs from other field offices would also be attending.

He reported that the Washington Field Office requested that FBI headquarters "to do a poll or put out something to people saying w[ere] any CHSs involved" in order to determine the number of CHSs who were in attendance. After reaching out, the FBI "started getting responses back," D'Antuono said.

The former FBI official claimed that a CHS with the Kansas City Field Office had attended the protest and been in contact with his handler. The CHS allegedly told his handler "while they were in the crowd, I think, saying that they were going in. They were trying to stop some of the action happening and they left or whatnot," D'Antuono explained.

According to the former FBI officials, the bureau's audit revealed that "a handful" of informants had attended the rally.

The committee noted that the revelations were "extremely concerning" and put in question the FBI's use of CHSs and their credibility as informants. The bureau spends $42 million per year in payments to its CHSs, according to the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.

"These revelations reinforce existing concerns, identified by Special Counsel [John] Durham, about the FBI's use of, and payment to, CHSs who have fabricated evidence and misrepresented information," Jordan's letter to Wray stated. "The Justice Department Inspector General also identified critical problems in the FBI's CHS program, including the FBI's failure to fully vet CHSs and the FBI's willingness to ignore red flags that would call into question an informant's reliability."

Jordan requested that Wray provide the committee with a "substantive briefing" detailing how the bureau utilized informants on January 6 and debriefing documents provided by the CHSs following the rally.

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