Investigators Find A Pattern In FBI Probes

( In a column at The Center Square, writer Scott McClallen notes there are striking similarities between the FBI’s Whitmer kidnapping entrapment plot and another FBI covert operation targeting Michigan militias from more than a decade ago.

In 2010, nine Hutaree militia members were arrested for allegedly plotting to kill a police officer and bomb the officer’s funeral. Like the Whitmer case, two of the men pleaded guilty to weapons charges while a judge acquitted the other seven defendants in 2012.

In her 2012 acquittal, District Judge Victoria Roberts said the so-called Hutaree plan was “utterly short on specifics.” She argued that it was a “stretch to infer” that the members of the militia even knew about the plan let alone “agreed to further it.”

Both the 2010 “plot” and the Whitmer plot involved multiple FBI informants. The FBI began both investigations partly based on alleged threats to kill police officers. In both cases, the FBI spent a significant amount of money to get the plots rolling. And, in both cases, the violent words of the militia members didn’t result in subsequent acts of violence.

In the so-called Whitmer plot, the FBI paid an informant/turned double agent, Stephen Robeson, $20,000. It was Robeson who organized meetings in Ohio in June and July 2020. He drove the militia members to the meetings where he paid for their hotel rooms and bought them pizza and booze.

In the 2010 case, an FBI informant joined the Hutaree militia in 2008, and another informant infiltrated the group and befriended its leader. Even with these well-placed informants, the FBI was unable to obtain the evidence necessary to make their case.

When the 2010 plot failed to escalate, an FBI agent wrote in an email that they were going to try to get the militia members to “bite on additional explosives and weapons activity.”

Sounds a bit like entrapment, doesn’t it? Just like the Whitmer kidnapping case.

Judge Roberts said the prosecution’s case against the Hutaree militia was “built largely of circumstantial evidence.” She said the evidence may have indicated that “something fishy” was going on, but it did not prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”