In an explosive segment on Fox News Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson alleged that federal law enforcement agents may have been responsible, at least in part, for organizing the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, a fact which, if true, raises serious questions about the federal government's response to the events that day.
At the outset of his monologue, Carlson bluntly asked, "Speaking of January 6th, why are there still so many things, basic factual matters, we don't know about that day?"
"Why is the Biden administration preventing us from knowing? Why is the administration hiding more than 10,000 hours of surveillance tape from the U.S. Capitol? What could possibly be the reason for that?" he continued. "We need to get to the bottom of it. They could release those tapes today, but they're not. Why?"
Then Carlson, using reporting from Revolver.news, a right-wing media outlet, alluded to the presence of several so-called "unindicted co-conspirators" in Justice Department charging documents. These individuals, often identified as "Person One," "Person Two," and so on, seemed to play a significant role in the orchestration of the attacks that day, but have not been charged with any crimes.
As it relates to these individuals — of whom Revolver reports "upwards of 20" — Carlson asserted: "The government knows who they are, but the government has not charged them. Why is that? You know why. They were almost certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents. And those two are not alone."
(Watch the relevant portion starting at the 5:10 mark in the video below):
It should be noted, however, that Carlson's assertion that the "unindicted co-conspirators" are almost certainly FBI agents is pure conjecture at this point. He cannot know who they are because the government has chosen not to name them.
Furthermore, in a rebuttal piece, the Washington Post cited legal experts in saying, "The government literally cannot name an undercover agent as an unindicted co-conspirator."
The news outlet added that there are several reasons that might result in someone being listed as an unindicted co-conspirator — none of them involving their actions as a federal agent. It could be that their identity is unknown, there is insufficient evidence against them, or they have secured leniency from government for their cooperation in the prosecution of others.
In any case, Carlson and Revolver.news attempt to bolster the claims by pointing to an interesting exchange that took place between Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and FBI Director Christopher Wray in March, in which Wray appeared to confirm that his agents were active in infiltrating as many dissident groups as they possibly could.
While the line of questioning at the congressional hearing was hypothetical and somewhat indirect, the inference is clear, so Carlson suggested: The FBI was likely involved with the three dissident groups recognized as primary instigators of the Capitol siege — the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and the Three Percenters.
Amy Klobuchar questions FBI Director about Capitol Insurrection, Proud Boys youtu.be
In making his case, the Fox News anchor was clear to articulate a distinction between the FBI engaging in undercover activity to observe criminal behavior — which he said is needed — and the FBI actually organizing violent action.
"There's a huge difference between using an informant to find out what a group you find threatening might do, and paying people to organize a violent action, which is what happened, apparently according to government documents, on January 6," he explained.
He suggested that the latter type of behavior crosses a line and added that the FBI has crossed that line before, most recently during the thwarted kidnapping plot of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).
Others called it "legally impossible" and "dead wrong."
Legal blog Law & Crime pointed out that "it is not common for federal court documents to refer to undercover agents or criminal informants merely as 'persons.' Under common DOJ parlance, Informants are referred to as 'Confidential Human Sources' ('CHS'), and agents are referred to as 'Undercover Employees' ('UCE'), as the Revolver story itself points out."
Nevertheless, even after significant blowback, Carlson doubled down on his claims Wednesday night.