Biggest investigation ever

The charges are piling up.

All 56 FBI field offices are engaged in a huge investigation that ranks alongside the biggest the bureau has conducted. As Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for Washington DC which is leading the hunt, has put it: “The scope and scale of this investigation are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history but probably DoJ history.”

Already the number of people who have been arrested, either by the FBI, Capitol police or local Washington DC officers has reached 235, spanning more than 40 states. As the investigation widens and deepens, the focus is tightening on anyone considered to have acted as a coordinator of the action in an attempt to take out the ringleaders.

So that they can’t do it again.

As more has become known about those arrested, the strategy being pursued by the FBI has also revealed itself. In several cases, people who participated in the storming of the Capitol were picked up and charged with relatively minor offenses such as trespassing or theft of mail simply as a means to get them into prosecutorial clutches.

Once in the system, more serious charges could then be added as intelligence came in. That pattern of escalating charges can be seen in the cases of Nicholas DeCarlo from Texas and Nicholas Ochs from Hawaii.

Initially, the pair were accused of unlawful entry into federal property. But new conspiracy charges were added this week in which they are alleged to have planned out their travel across state lines, raised money to pay for it, and then made the trip to Washington DC in a premeditated attempt to obstruct the certification of Joe Biden as winner of the US presidential election.

Prosecutors have made clear that they are ramping up the charges against select individuals as a means of discouraging further violence from Trump supporters and their far-right and white supremacist allies. “We are going to focus on the most significant charges as a deterrent, because regardless of if it was just a trespass in the Capitol or someone planted a pipe bomb, you will be charged and you will be found,” Sherwin said.

Because you posted it all online.

The FBI’s work has been greatly assisted by the plethora of intelligence swirling around online – in many cases posted by the suspects themselves. Take the hapless duo, DeCarlo and Ochs.

photo of the pair, posing thumbs up in front of the memorial door of the US Capitol on which they had scrawled the words “MURDER THE MEDIA”, was easily found online. It has been included in the indictment against them, and earned them the special attentions of the media assault strike force set up by federal prosecutors to investigate violent threats against members of the media.

Inspired by the hoodlum from Queens.

As they sift this mountain of evidence the FBI is finding that far-right and white supremacist groups were in the lead. Surprise surprise.

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