Steven D'Antuono, the former Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, testified to the House Judiciary Committee that the agency had to resort to a "poll" to ascertain the exact number of "Confidential Human Sources" (CHSs) present at the Capitol protest.
In a letter dated Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R) voiced concerns regarding the bureau's management and vetting of 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 informed Wray. The letter also revealed that "at least one FBI CHS was in communication with his handler that day as events unfolded."
According to D'Antuono's testimony, the FBI had prior knowledge that some of its CHSs would be attending the protest. However, several unknown CHSs attended independently. He stated that while his field office was aware of some of its informants' presence at the event, it was not informed about CHSs from other field offices attending.
D'Antuono reported that the Washington Field Office requested FBI headquarters to "do a poll or put out something to people saying w[ere] any CHSs involved" to determine the number of CHSs present. After reaching out, the FBI "started getting responses back," D'Antuono added.
The former FBI official disclosed that a CHS from the Kansas City Field Office attended the protest and communicated with his handler. The CHS reportedly 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 elaborated.
The bureau's audit, as per the former FBI officials, revealed that "a handful" of informants were present at the rally.
The committee expressed that these revelations were "extremely concerning" and cast doubt on the FBI's use of CHSs and their credibility as informants. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General reports that the bureau spends $42 million annually on payments to its CHSs.
"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," stated Jordan's letter to Wray. "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 the bureau's use of informants on January 6 and the debriefing documents provided by the CHSs after the rally.