According to the publication, Thomas Edward Caldwell, who is allegedly a leader of the far-right militia group Oath Keepers, is facing four charges for his purported role in the violence. One such charge is conspiracy to commit an offense — the first such charge filed against individuals involved in the riot.
“Caldwell, a Navy veteran, worked as a section chief for the FBI from 2009 to 2010, and he also ran a consulting firm that performed work for several U.S. government agencies, his attorney wrote,” The Hill reported.
Caldwell’s FBI background was revealed by his attorney — Thomas Plofchan — in a Monday court filing.
“He has held a Top Secret Security Clearance since 1979 and has undergone multiple Special Background Investigations in support of his clearances.”
Per CBS News, Caldwell also allegedly headed a consulting firm that did classified work for the American government. In the Monday filing, Plofchan underlined that his client was “vetted and found numerous times ” to be trustworthy to the U.S. government.
Caldwell is also a retired lieutenant commander with the Navy, as further alleged.
Per Vice, court documents claim that Caldwell helped organize eight to 10 people in tactical gear to drive the crowd outside the Capitol up the building’s stairs and through its doors. After infiltrating the Capitol, The Hill reported that Caldwell made a Facebook post.
“Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator! She was ready for it man! Didn’t even mind the tear gas.”
The former FBI agent also reportedly received an ominous Facebook message from an unknown individual that notified him of the location of American lawmakers.
“Seal them in. Turn on the gas,” the message read.
Caldwell denies being a member of Oath Keepers. Another purported member, Jessica Marie Watkins, has also been arrested for conspiracy due to her purported role in organizing and recruiting members of the operation as early as November.
According to Thomas O’Connor, a former FBI agent who spent decades investigating domestic terrorists, right-wing extremist movements recruit and radicalize members before stepping back to allow small cells and individuals to carry out violent attacks. The Washington Post claimed that Stewart Rhodes, the national leader of Oath Keepers, stopped responding to Watkins shortly before the attack on the Capitol. She reportedly grew frustrated at the lack of direction.