Federal Employees News Digest

FBI, other feds help thwart Michigan plot

Federal employees across multiple agencies play crucial roles in stopping domestic terrorists—and took the lead this month in foiling a spectacular conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and overthrow that state’s government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest under federal law of six co-conspirators, described by the agency as “violent extremists.”

“Federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly when they target our duly elected leaders,” United States Attorney Andrew Birge, who is handling the case in Grand Rapids, Mich., said in an Oct. 8 press release.

Agency sources and news media note the conspiracy began partly in anger at Gov. Whitmer, for placing restrictions on public activity to curb the spread of illness and death caused by COVID-19—but that the coup attempt also is rooted in deeper ideologies of generally anti-government, separatist militias and white supremacists.

The accused conspirators had reportedly acquired firearms, assembled and test-fired explosives and put together other tactical gear, as well as scouted out locations to hit and put together plans for how and when to abduct the governor.

“These alleged extremists undertook a plot to kidnap a sitting governor,” said the FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Josh P. Hauxhurst. “Whenever extremists move into the realm of actually  planning violent acts, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force stands ready to identify, disrupt and dismantle their operations, preventing them from following through on those plans.”

The investigation and allied law enforcement operations were conducted in cooperation with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The State of Michigan charged and arrested an additional seven individuals with various crimes—including providing “material support of terroristic activities” and of “possessing a firearm in the course of [the offense]”—for their involvement in the plot.

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