A plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer last year was largely the result of actions taken by FBI informants, says a new report, raising questions about the agency’s role in US domestic terrorism.
According to government documents, 14 men were charged last year in the plot to kidnap Whitmer, in Dublin, Ohio.
An investigation by BuzzFeed News says the group had been infiltrated by at least a dozen FBI informants.
The investigation revealed that "some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported."
The report that relies on dozens of interviews, along with court filings, transcripts and audio recordings, said that the informants “had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception.”
“The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them,” wrote he news outlet.
Among the group members, the report said, an Iraq war veteran informant "became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group" that he rose to second-in-command of the group.
Another man who advised the militia group on where to place explosives and offered to get as many as needed was also an informant, the report said.
The suspects were arrested in October last year, with many held without bail ever since.
According to authorities, the group began preparing for the kidnapping in June of last year after months of discussions online, in which members frequently criticized Whitmer’s policies.
The group was said to have held several military-style training sessions and gathered thousands of dollars in weapons and gear for her abduction.
The latest report renews a familiar debate over the alleged role of the FBI in the January 6 Capitol riot by Trump's supporters.
Citing the government’s court filing, a report said last month that “almost certainly…the FBI operatives were organizing the attack at the Capitol on January 6.”
Observers say that the Michigan case is an example of "outrageous government overreach" that encourages conspiratorial thinking in the first place.