The FBI often uses informants to penetrate conspiracies and plots and head them off before they come to fruition.
But in the unsuccessful plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the publication BuzzFeed News asks this about the informants in the case: The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them. Fourteen people were charged by the feds and the state.
BuzzFeed's Ken Besinger and Jessica Garrison write:
An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception.
A longtime government informant from Wisconsin, for example, helped organize a series of meetings around the country where many of the alleged plotters first met one another and the earliest notions of a plan took root, some of those people say. The Wisconsin informant even paid for some hotel rooms and food as an incentive to get people to come.
The Iraq War vet, for his part, became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group that he rose to become its second-in-command, encouraging members to collaborate with other potential suspects and paying for their transportation to meetings. He prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest.
The online publication reports that the government has documented at least 12 confidential informants involved in the investigation.
So far, one defendant has officially claimed entrapment and some others plan to follow suit, the news site says.
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