Thursday 15 June 2023

Corrupted Phone Data Hindered Jan. 6 Pipe Bomber Search, Ex-FBI Official Says

 FBI investigators found phone carrier data had been corrupted, frustrating their January 6 pipe bomb investigation, said a former senior bureau official who led the inquiry.

Steve D’Antuono, the former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office up until the end of last year, spoke to members of the House Judiciary Committee this month in a closed-door interview.

A newly released transcript excerpt shows him discussing how FBI investigators made a troubling discovery when attempting to use geofencing technology to identify the pipe bomb suspect, who can be seen in surveillance video sitting on a bench looking at what appears to be a phone in Washington, D.C.

“We did a complete geofence. We have complete data. Not complete, because there’s some data that was corrupted by one of the providers, not purposely by them, right,” D’Antuono said. “It just – unusual circumstance that we have corrupt data from one of the providers.”

D’Antuono said he could not remember the carrier, but described the situation as “awful” because investigators lacked certain information that could have informed their search.

“So could it have been that provider? Yeah, with our luck, you know, with this investigation it probably was, right,” he added. “So maybe if we did have that – that data wasn’t corrupted – and it wasn’t purposely corrupted. I don’t want any conspiracy theories, right. To my knowledge, it wasn’t corrupted, you know, but that could have been good information that we don’t have, right. So that is painful for us to not to have that. So we looked at everything.”

The suspect, seen in surveillance video only as a hooded figure carrying a backpack, has yet to be publicly identified more than two years after federal authorities say a pair of pipe bombs were planted outside the Republican National Committee’s and Democratic National Committee’s offices in Washington, D.C., on the evening of January 5, 2021, the night before the Capitol riot on January 6. Authorities found the devices roughly 17 hours after they were planted.

The FBI told The Daily Wire last month that its investigation is “continuing and it’s one we take very seriously.” A reward for information was increased to $500,000 in January, and the bureau continues to encourage members of the public who may have information to reach out.


Other transcript excerpts show D’Antuono saying FBI investigators did not know the gender of the suspect when he was in charge and dismissing talk about the pipe bomb scare being a diversion as “pure speculation.” He also questioned the viability of the pipe bombs considering the one-hour kitchen timer components, conceding, “Maybe they weren’t supposed to go off. We can’t —we don’t know.”

The excerpts appear in a June 14 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, co-signed by Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and three subcommittee chairmen, including Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who appears to have led the line of inquiry about the January 6 probe. The letter reiterates demands for a briefing on the status of the pipe bomb investigation as well as an assortment of documents and communications. A deadline of June 28 was given.

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