Saturday 12 November 2022

Top FBI Official Who Led Whitmer Kidnapping Plot, J6 Investigations To Retire: Report

 One of the top officials in the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, is reportedly retiring from the agency at the end of the month.

D’Antuono is the assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office. He was promoted in October 2020 from his previous position as special agent in charge of the Detroit Field Office where he over saw the FBI investigation into the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He is expected to retire at the end of the month, according to a reportedly internal FBI memo.

At his role in Washington, D.C., D’Antuono has been one of the chief FBI officials in charge of the bureau’s investigation into the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6. D’Antuono has received scrutiny and criticism from Republicans over his handling of both the kidnapping conspiracy and January 6 investigations.

D’Antuono’s departure comes as Republicans appear to be on the verge of retaking control of the house with a slim majority. The transferal of power away from Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would give Republicans power to dictate House investigations, and the FBI could be a target after numerous whistleblower leaks revealed potential corruption and allegations of politicization at the bureau’s highest levels.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said earlier this year that his office alone has collected the statements of 14 FBI whistleblowers. In the Senate, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA) and Ron Johnson (WI) have collected whistleblower testimony as well.

Some of that whistleblower testimony has implicated D’Antuono’s work. The FBI field office assistant director is currently responsible for overseeing the bureau investigation into rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The Department of Justice has brought hundreds of charges against alleged rioters as a result of the investigation.

Whistleblower accounts given to Republicans in Congress allege that the January 6 investigation is being manipulated to appear as if domestic extremism is a rising national phenomenon. According to Jordan’s office, one FBI whistleblower said that the FBI is manipulating its casefiles around the investigation to create “false and misleading crime statistics.”

“Instead of hundreds of investigations stemming from a single, black swan incident at the Capitol, FBI and DOJ officials point to significant increases in domestic violent extremism and terrorism around the United States,” the whistleblower alleged.

D’Antuono’s work at his previous position in Michigan has also drawn scrutiny. The Department of Justice announced charges related to a conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer in October 2020, weeks before the election. The investigation and bust quickly became “one of the most important domestic terrorism investigations in a generation,” according to BuzzFeed.

Later, doubts grew about the extent of the FBI’s role in the sting as defendants raised questions about the conduct of human sources and FBI agents involved in the investigation. Of the six men charged by the Department of Justice in the plot, two cut plea deals before heading to trial, two were acquitted at trial, and two were found guilty of conspiracy in a second trial after the first jury hung on the charges.

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