13 charged in plots against Michigan governor, police

OceanBonfire

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Seeing those armed right-wingers storming the state capitol months ago, I'm somewhat surprised and not surprised:

FBI foils far-right plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

https://globalnews.ca/news/7386210/michigan-kidnapping-plot-gretchen-whitmer/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-michigan-whitmer/plot-to-kidnap-michigan-governor-thwarted-13-arrested-officials-say-idUSKBN26T2ZF

https://apnews.com/article/michigan-checks-and-balances-archive-gretchen-whitmer-da09ca66cd8d5f36722021d3593425ff

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fbi-foils-plot-kidnap-michigan-gov-gretchen-whitmer/story?id=73502995

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gretchen-whitmer-michigan-fbi-kidnapping-plot/
 

Remius

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OceanBonfire said:
Seeing those armed right-wingers storming the state capitol months ago, I'm somewhat surprised and not surprised:

A small taste of what a Joe Biden win will have on that sort of thing. 
 

Jarnhamar

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Remius said:
A small taste of what a Joe Biden win will have on that sort of thing.

So what you're saying is it's better if the US keeps Trump in the Whitehouse as president to avoid right-wingers from committing wide-scale kidnappings and terrorism?
 

Remius

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Jarnhamar said:
So what you're saying is it's better if the US keeps Trump in the Whitehouse as president to avoid right-wingers from committing wide-scale kidnappings and terrorism?

Hardly.  Just like all the plots to kill Obama this is likely all in the same vein.  And the current POTUS is certainly encouraging it all with his language.  “Liberate Michigan” indeed.

It is far worse if people don’t exercise their democratic right to vote than to submit to that kind of mindless action.
 

Retired AF Guy

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If things couldn't get crazier, the FBI has arrested 13 people in a plot to kidnap, Gretchen Whitmer, Democratic Governor of Michigan.

13 charged in plots against Michigan governor, police

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Agents foiled a stunning plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday in announcing charges in an alleged scheme that involved months of planning and even rehearsals to snatch her from her vacation home.

Dana Nessel

October 08, 2020

Six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the governor in reaction to what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others were charged in state court under Michigan's anti-terrorism laws for allegedly targeting police and seeking a “civil war.”

A few hours later, Whitmer pinned some blame on President Donald Trump, noting that he did not condemn white supremacists in last week's debate with Joe Biden and instead told a far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”

“Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” Whitmer said. “When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight." The six men charged in federal court plotted for months, consulting and training with members of a group that federal authorities described as a militia, and undertaking rehearsals in August and September, according to an FBI affidavit. They were arrested Wednesday night and face up to life in prison if convicted.

Four had planned Wednesday to meet to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear,” the FBI said in the court filing. The FBI quoted one of the accused as saying Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end."

Andrew Birge, the U.S. attorney in western Michigan, called the men “violent extremists.” “All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today,” Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told reporters.

Whitmer, who was considered as Joe Biden's running mate, has been praised but also deeply criticized by the Republican-controlled Legislature and conservatives areas of the state for Michigan's response to the coronavirus. She put major restrictions on personal movement throughout the state and on the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted. The governor has exchanged barbs with Trump on social media, with the president declaring in April, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

He has referred to Whitmer as the “woman in Michigan.” There's no indication in the criminal complaint that the men were inspired by Trump. Authorities also have not publicly said whether the men were angry about Whitmer's coronavirus orders.

The Michigan Supreme Court last week ruled that a 1945 law used as the foundation for many of Whitmer's orders was unconstitutional. The decision was 4-3, with justices who were nominated by Republicans in the majority.

The government said the plot against Whitmer was stopped with the work of undercover agents and informants. Whitmer thanked law enforcement for thwarting the alleged conspirators and said she hopes that convictions will bring “these sick and depraved men to justice."

Through electronic communications, two of the alleged conspirators “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution,” the FBI said.

The criminal complaint identified the six as Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, all of Michigan, and Barry Croft of Delaware. All but Croft appeared in federal court in Grand Rapids. They asked for court-appointed lawyers and were returned to jail to await detention hearings Tuesday.

Fox said he needed 200 men to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including the governor, according to the FBI. He said he wanted to try Whitmer for “treason” and would execute the plan before the Nov. 3 election, the government said. The group later shifted to targeting the governor’s vacation home, the FBI said.

The government said the scheme appeared to have roots in a June gathering in Dublin, Ohio, attended by more than a dozen people from several states, including Croft and Fox. “The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the FBI affidavit said. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. ... Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or 'taking' a sitting governor.”

In a separate but related action, state authorities announced terrorism-related charges against seven men who were said to belong to or were associated with Wolverine Watchmen, which was described as a militia group.

The seven men are accused of identifying the homes of law enforcement officers and making violent threats "intended to instigate a civil war,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. They trained for an operation to attack the Michigan Capitol and to kidnap officials, including the governor, Nessel said.

Link to article.

Link to FBI indictment.
 

tomahawk6

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She was acting the tyrant which her state Supreme Court addressed. I expect that the voters will cast her out when next she runs for another term. Fortunately these plotters were not too bright and in short order will be tried and do a stretch in a state prison. Meanwhile the political discourse from the left needs to be dialed back.
 

reveng

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Maybe this group is just the junk that has been sacrificed as part of an elaborate deception plan. You know, to distract from the ops of cells with real tradecraft...
 

CBH99

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reveng said:
Maybe this group is just the junk that has been sacrificed as part of an elaborate deception plan. You know, to distract from the ops of cells with real tradecraft...


Perhaps.  Quite possibly.  But that would also imply there is an evil secret genius behind the scenes, with enough of a meticulous long term plan to sacrifice this group now to distract law enforcement, while the real foot soldiers go to work.

Ooorrrr...

These types of individuals don't tend to be the most sophisticated in the first place, and were sloppy in their planning.  Thank goodness.



(All it takes is a few to whisper something to some friends, or a wife - and then they gossip, and those people gossip, etc etc.  Before you know it, one of them tips off the police, and boom...their genius plan gets busted.)
 

Brad Sallows

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Mostly what has emerged so far is a picture of not-too-bright minarchists/anarchists, who tried to get some help from some not-much-brighter isolationists/minarchists (militia).
 

reveng

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CBH99 said:
Perhaps.  Quite possibly.  But that would also imply there is an evil secret genius behind the scenes, with enough of a meticulous long term plan to sacrifice this group now to distract law enforcement, while the real foot soldiers go to work.

Ooorrrr...

These types of individuals don't tend to be the most sophisticated in the first place, and were sloppy in their planning.  Thank goodness.



(All it takes is a few to whisper something to some friends, or a wife - and then they gossip, and those people gossip, etc etc.  Before you know it, one of them tips off the police, and boom...their genius plan gets busted.)

Do you really think, that in the United States of all places, it would not be possible for there to be a group of intelligent, experienced, and tactically proficient individuals that could pull some serious crap off? The only thing the US has going for it is that most of these dudes & dudettes work for the government directly or indirectly, or draw some kind of retired pay through the system, have kids, mortgages etc. But in a country of hundreds of millions, it's not impossible to find a dozen that are both switched on, and pissed off. Especially if you push them or send the country they fought for/served down a dark path...

There's no real reason to do anything currently. If there's ever a socialist revolution, or civil war, expect to see these people coming out to at least protect their families and neighbours. There's no need to be some moron standing out in the open with an AR-15 at a protest, the real ones will have already finished engaging and reholstering their CC before the idiots even know what happened.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a surplus of stupid at both ends of the spectrum. Thankfully the most competent are probably also the most rational. They will only act if someone forces their hand.
 

CBH99

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reveng said:
Do you really think, that in the United States of all places, it would not be possible for there to be a group of intelligent, experienced, and tactically proficient individuals that could pull some serious crap off? The only thing the US has going for it is that most of these dudes & dudettes work for the government directly or indirectly, or draw some kind of retired pay through the system, have kids, mortgages etc. But in a country of hundreds of millions, it's not impossible to find a dozen that are both switched on, and pissed off. Especially if you push them or send the country they fought for/served down a dark path...

There's no real reason to do anything currently. If there's ever a socialist revolution, or civil war, expect to see these people coming out to at least protect their families and neighbours. There's no need to be some moron standing out in the open with an AR-15 at a protest, the real ones will have already finished engaging and reholstering their CC before the idiots even know what happened.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a surplus of stupid at both ends of the spectrum. Thankfully the most competent are probably also the most rational. They will only act if someone forces their hand.


"Do you really think, that in the United States of all places, it would not be possible for there to be a group of intelligent, experienced, and tactically proficient individuals that could pull some serious crap off?"


Literally the very first thing I said was "Perhaps.  Quite Possibly."

Anyway... 



I agree with you on everything you stated, very much so that the idiots showing up at protests with AR-15's probably aren't the switched on types we have to worry about in the long run.

But this thread is about a specific incident involving a plot to kidnap the Governor - as per the article linked at the beginning of this thread, and the discussion is about THAT.  (There are other threads involving US politics which may interweave with this particular situation)


And since I was commenting on this particular situation - I do stand by what I said.  Thankfully the individuals involved in this plot weren't particularly sophisticated or skilled, and their loose lips sunk their ship.

(Nowhere did I even remotely refer to an idea that nowhere in the US are there some switched on government types that couldn't plan & execute something efficiently... I simply stated the obvious that the clowns involved in this plot weren't the brightest crayons in the box)
 

reveng

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Sorry, I didn't mean to rant or come off snippy. I just find people tend to dismiss anyone right wing as uneducated, incompetent. I know you aren't one of those types though...  ;D

Anyways, probably just idiots and nothing more. I also don't want to give the bad guys any ideas, so I will just keep most of my red teaming to myself. All I will say is: if LE/IC agencies think they are going to always be up against amateurs, they may be in for a world of hurt in the coming months and years.

:Tin-Foil-Hat:
 

CBH99

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reveng said:
Sorry, I didn't mean to rant or come off snippy. I just find people tend to dismiss anyone right wing as uneducated, incompetent. I know you aren't one of those types though...  ;D

Anyways, probably just idiots and nothing more. I also don't want to give the bad guys any ideas, so I will just keep most of my red teaming to myself. All I will say is: if LE/IC agencies think they are going to always be up against amateurs, they may be in for a world of hurt in the coming months and years.

:Tin-Foil-Hat:


Totally agree with everything you said  :)

And no, I know you aren't the snippy type either.  Sometimes things being read (text messages, e-mails, discussions, etc) don't come across the way they are intended - and I totally understand what you mean about the assumptions of potential right wing threats. 


We're all good  :cheers: 
 

The Bread Guy

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This from the FBI on the Michigan plot ....
United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that six men have been arrested and charged federally with conspiring to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. According to a complaint filed Tuesday, October 6, 2020, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta conspired to kidnap the Governor from her vacation home in the Western District of Michigan. Under federal law, each faces any term of years up to life in prison if convicted. Fox, Garbin, Franks, Harris, and Caserta are residents of Michigan. Croft is a resident of Delaware.

          U.S. Attorney Birge said that “Federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly when they target our duly elected leaders.”

          The federal complaint in this case alleges that the FBI began an investigation earlier this year after becoming aware through social media that a group of individuals was discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components. Through confidential sources, undercover agents, and clandestine recordings, law enforcement learned particular individuals were planning to kidnap the Governor and acting in furtherance of that plan. This group used operational security measures, including communicating by encrypted messaging platforms and used code words and phrases in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement. On two occasions, members of the alleged conspiracy conducted coordinated surveillance on the Governor’s vacation home. Fox and Croft discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the vacation home and Fox even inspected the underside of an M-31 highway bridge for places to seat an explosive, according to the complaint. Among other activities, the complaint alleges Fox purchased a taser for use in the kidnapping and that the group successfully detonated an improvised explosive device wrapped with shrapnel to test its anti-personnel capabilities. The FBI and Michigan State Police executed arrests as multiple conspirators met to pool funds for explosives and exchange tactical gear.

          “All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence,” stated U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, Eastern District of Michigan. “The allegations in this complaint are deeply disturbing. We owe our thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who uncovered this plot and have worked so hard to protect Governor Whitmer.”

          “These alleged extremists undertook a plot to kidnap a sitting governor,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Josh P. Hauxhurst. “Whenever extremists move into the realm of actually  planning violent acts, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force stands ready to identify, disrupt and dismantle their operations, preventing them from following through on those plans.”

          The investigation is ongoing. Agents of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI and other members of their Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Michigan State Police, are conducting the investigation. FBI Agents and JTTF members in the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI, which covers Delaware, are also involved. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan is prosecuting the federal charges. U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Michigan and Delaware have assisted.

          Based on information developed in the investigation, State of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the simultaneous arrest of seven other individuals on state charges of providing material support of terroristic activities and of possessing a firearm in the course of that offense.

          The charges in a complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Criminal complaint attached for a bit more detail.
 

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Remius

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reveng said:
All I will say is: if LE/IC agencies think they are going to always be up against amateurs, they may be in for a world of hurt in the coming months and years.

:Tin-Foil-Hat:

What makes you think that LE/IC agencies think they are always going to be up against amateurs?

The FBI director has been sounding the alarm about these types of threats.  The fact that they dedicated the resources they did to this operation tells us that they took them seriously enough.

It sounds like these guys made the mistake of thinking social media was a safe place to talk or start their conversation.
 

reveng

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Remius said:
What makes you think that LE/IC agencies think they are always going to be up against amateurs?

The FBI director has been sounding the alarm about these types of threats.  The fact that they dedicated the resources they did to this operation tells us that they took them seriously enough.

It sounds like these guys made the mistake of thinking social media was a safe place to talk or start their conversation.

While there are obviously incredibly talented investigators/analysts out there, there's also no shortage of hubris in certain communities.

I'm obviously not privy to all the sources and methods involved in this investigation. However, if something as basic as social media was the entry point into this cell...well, what would have happened if these people weren't complete morons?

I'm in no way trying to discredit the hard work of those involved in taking this one down. I've just seen enough in a previous life to be skeptical. That's all.
 

Remius

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reveng said:
While there are obviously incredibly talented investigators/analysts out there, there's also no shortage of hubris in certain communities.

I'm obviously not privy to all the sources and methods involved in this investigation. However, if something as basic as social media was the entry point into this cell...well, what would have happened if these people weren't complete morons?

I'm in no way trying to discredit the hard work of those involved in taking this one down. I've just seen enough in a previous life to be skeptical. That's all.


Maybe I’m giving them too much credit but US intelligence and LE since 9/11 have been analyzing, tracking and taking down terrorist and extremist groups and individuals.  Groups and people that have sophisticated networks and tactics to try and evade detection. 

That does not mean that smart right wing extremists won’t get lucky some day and pull off something.  They have before and they will again.  And some won’t have to be particularly smart to do it.  Sometimes crude methods is all you need.

I’m not sure these guys or at least some of them are all morons.  But in a group of 13, at least one or two were I would wager.  And that’s all it takes to eff up your plan. The larger the group the larger the risk of compromise. 

My point is that I think US LE and IC are taking these types of things very seriously.  They’ve dealt with enough if them in the past and likely know that they are a bigger threat in the US than then general public  thinks or realizes.  Including the POTUS who at least publicly has disagreed with his own FBI director on that assessment.
 

Remius

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It appears some of these guys may have been at that armed protest in the legislature a few months ago.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2-charged-in-whitmer-kidnap-plot-photographed-with-long-guns-at-state-capitol-in-april-ag-says
 

brihard

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reveng said:
All I will say is: if LE/IC agencies think they are going to always be up against amateurs, they may be in for a world of hurt in the coming months and years.

:Tin-Foil-Hat:

Not sure why you think this is the case. Law enforcement and intelligence have been taking this type of threat quite seriously for a good while now. Just because such interest has been low profile doesn’t mean it hasn’t been there. Inferences can be drawn from the fact that resources like undercover (both online and meat world) and confidential informants have been thrown at this, as well as reacting the attention of Joint Terrorism Task Forces. I don’t think anyone working in the national security field has any illusions about the very real threat posed by violent right wing extremism.
 

reveng

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Brihard said:
Not sure why you think this is the case. Law enforcement and intelligence have been taking this type of threat quite seriously for a good while now. Just because such interest has been low profile doesn’t mean it hasn’t been there. Inferences can be drawn from the fact that resources like undercover (both online and meat world) and confidential informants have been thrown at this, as well as reacting the attention of Joint Terrorism Task Forces. I don’t think anyone working in the national security field has any illusions about the very real threat posed by violent right wing extremism.

Well, do we know what came first? I haven't really had much time to read up on this specific operation. What was the initial tip or entry point into this network? Surely you must agree that it is far easier to run CIs and UC operations once your target group has essentially outed themselves online. If they were initially identified through more onerous forms of investigation, then I suppose I feel a little better. As I stated previously, I'm not privy to all the sources and methods utilized here, nor should I be. It's possible this is a huge success, or perhaps, they just got lucky. Is that completely unfair to say in your opinion?

The people I'd be most concerned about would not be stupid enough to use phones, e-mail, or social media. Nor would they require 200 people for an operation like this. They'd be far tighter, likely have known each other for years (even served overseas together) and thus far harder to infiltrate in the flesh, or monitor in the digital domain.

Someone truly competent isn't going to stand around and get photographed at a protest wearing an aloha shirt and holding an AR-15...

:2c:
 
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