Advice from a Friend
Yesterday I posted a photo I’d taken of a man at a Starbucks in northeastern Virginia with this short message:
“Does anyone recognize this man? Low-level KGB-style, grunt sh-t. Holiday weekend. “New guy” on the job. (HSI?) Eastern Virginia. I tagged him immediately. Please share.”
I posted this to my Locals Twitter and Facebook pages. Why would I do that?
I received a recommendation from FBI whistleblower Steve Friend to “dox” him. Friend told me, “Being as public as possible is my strategy to avoid retribution.” I took his advice and posted the photo. Not because I expect anyone to tell me who he is, but to let the watchers know that we know we are being watched.
Now, the backstory . . .
In the second article, I wrote about January 6, published on February 24, 2021, I briefly mentioned that sources had revealed to me “the very high probability that both’ Special Forces’ operatives and U.S. Marshalls were mixed in with the crowd that entered the Capitol Building.”
I went on to add the following statement:
“I also believe the aforementioned Special Forces operatives and U.S. Marshalls were deployed to be mixed in with the crowd should the militants actually use firearms or somehow gain direct access to Congressional VIPs. I do not believe their presence was part of some grand conspiracy to gain access to Congressional computers and files (on Trump’s behalf), but that they were there for the express purpose of “taking care of business” — outside or inside — should actions by the more militant of the mob get lethally out of hand.”
On numerous occasions in the ensuing months, I have given more detail about the specific special forces unit sources had made known to me. It is a highly-specialized U.S. Army signal intelligence (SIGINT) unit based out of Ft. Belvoir, in Fairfax County — just outside Washington D.C.
On January 3, 2022, Newsweek published an “exclusive” with the headline, “Secret Commandos with Shoot-to-Kill Authority Were at the Capitol.” The article concluded with this noteworthy statement:
“The presence of these extraordinary forces under the control of the Attorney General—and mostly operating under contingency plans that Congress and the U.S. Capitol Police were not privy to—added an additional layer of highly armed responders. The military’s role in this highly classified operation is still unknown. However, FBI sources tell Newsweek that military operators seconded to the FBI, and those on alert as part of the National Mission Force were present in the metropolitan area. The lingering question is: What did the Justice Department see that provoked it to see January 6 as an extraordinary event that the other agencies evidently missed.”
Not only was my early reporting of Army special forces present on January 6 seemingly validated by this piece, the author both asked and dropped a bombshell question in that last sentence. “What was it that the Justice Department saw . . .”
While I have spent a great deal of time over the last year covering the failures of the United States Capitol Police — especially that agency’s supposed intelligence failures — I have quietly obsessed over trying to learn more about the operations of that specific special forces unit on January 6. There is also the matter of posse comitatus and under what authority the FBI and the DOJ can command and deploy such a group on American soil. The Newsweek story says the secretive unit was “seconded to the FBI.”
That final Newsweek paragraph — published in January of 2022 — also says, “The role that the military played in this highly classified operation is still unknown . . .”
Through an unnamed congressional source, I can confirm — almost a year and a half later — that Congress has still not been able to get answers from the Defense Department on the deployment of this particular military group to the Capitol on January 6. As explained to me, “because that unit doesn’t technically exist.”
But, that SIGINT unit does, in fact, exist, though they do not have a name. Outside of this secretive special operations group, those in the know refer to them as “The Unit” or “The Activity.” Amongst themselves, members of the unit identify each other as “Orange.”
My own knowledge of the unit comes first from personally developed sources and second from a 2016 book by Michael Smith which revealed their formation and existence. The publisher’s promo statement for Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team describes this unit like this:
“A top-secret U.S. Army Special Operations unit has been running covert missions all over the world, from leading death squads to the hideout of drug baron Pablo Escobar to capturing Saddam Hussein and, in one of the greatest special operations missions of all time, helping to track down al-Qa’eda leader Osama bin Laden. “The Activity,” as it became known to insiders, has achieved near-mythical status, even among the world’s Special Operations elite. Hidden from the politicians and the government bean counters, the Activity has been carrying out deniable operations, preparing the way for Delta and SEAL Team Six.”
Apart from the aforementioned congressional verification of this unit’s existence, I have also developed a direct source. A retired member of The Unit. Someone who does not wish to be either named or become a whistleblower. We have met on several occasions. During our first meeting, he was stunned by how much I already knew about The Unit and its operations. Our meetings have not included discussions about or dissemination of classified information. He is extremely careful and believes his work as an operative within that unit was for the highest ideals of “God and country.” He wishes to fulfill his new life as a family man without disruption, but he feels we are losing our country to darker forces. As such, he is helping me navigate my own investigations . . . first, by not breaking any law or his oath . . . and second, by simply letting me know when I’m either “cold, warm, or getting warmer” in my work.
I can tell you that he has not verified The Unit’s presence at the Capitol on January 6, and he does not believe they were the unit deployed that day. He explains that his former SIGINT unit only answers to the U.S. Army chain of command and sometimes under the direction of the CIA in overseas operations. Never the FBI.
I am only now talking about this contact because of what happened during our meeting at a Starbucks in northeastern Virginia this past Friday. We know our meeting was being watched. Now that we know they know, I am taking the advice of FBI whistleblower Steve Friend and going as public as possible in letting them know that we know.
I arrived at Starbucks two hours before our scheduled meeting, using the time to consolidate my notes from my week in D.C. When my contact arrived, he asked, “Are you aware you’re being watched?”
“Uh . . . no.”
He quickly explained “who” and “how” he made the observation, then immediately stood up and grabbed two travel mugs off a shelf. He casually explained he needed to purchase a couple of mugs as gifts for visiting friends and placed the mugs on our table, between himself and the subject he’d identified. While still standing, he raised his cell phone to take a photo of the mugs, and as soon as he snapped the photo, he quietly said, “F–k.”
When my contact raised the phone for the photo, the subject seated across the room raised his left hand to shield his face. He knew he was made. (But we now also know our private communications have been monitored.)
My contact sat down and explained that every word we said was likely being heard. We discussed some simple pleasantries and updates about my work that week in D.C. and his visiting friends, then he abruptly said, “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go.”
Upon his departure, I packed up my computer, walked right up to the subject across the room, and snapped five photos of him with my phone. He never even looked at or acknowledged me in any way as I so obviously took those photos. I then left for my next appointment.
This morning I shared this information with sources working with the House Weaponization Committee. As the saying goes, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Or, stated even better by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“As gas-light is found to be the best nocturnal police, so the universe protects itself by pitiless publicity.”