WASHINGTON – Executive assistant director for the FBI’s national security branch Jill Sanborn was grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on whether or not federal agents or confidential informants played a role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The senior FBI official deflected and demurred throughout the senator’s questioning, which further raised suspicions about whether federal agents helped stoke the event.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, “The Domestic Terrorism Threat One Year After January 6,” Cruz asked Sanborn about suspicions that government officials encouraged lawless behavior during the protest, Fox News reported Tuesday.
“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” Cruz asked.
In response, Sanborn said she could not discuss “the specifics of sources and methods” of the FBI.
Therefore, Cruz broadened his question by asking if any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the riot.
“Sir, I can’t answer that,” she said.
Cruz queried whether any agents or confidential informants committed crimes of violence on Jan. 6. However, Sanborn’s response continued to be deflective as if she were safeguarding top secret information.
Nevertheless, Cruz continued to seeks information as he asked if any agents or confidential informants “actively encouraged” crimes of violence on Jan. 6.
“Sir, I can’t answer that.”
Sen. Ted Cruz: "Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of January 6th? Yes or no?"
FBI: "Sir, I can't answer that." pic.twitter.com/mjL6SeHWei
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 11, 2022
Cruz then brought up the controversial figure Ray Epps. He was seen on video the day prior to the riot telling a crowd, “Tomorrow, we need to get into the Capitol! Into the Capitol!” The crowd responded by shouting, “Fed! Fed! Fed!” at him, Fox reported.
Later, Epps said he was not encouraging wrongdoing.
“The only thing that meant is we would go in the doors like everyone else. It was totally, totally wrong the way they went in,” he told the Arizona Republic.
Other video taken the next day shows a man who resembles Epps outside the U.S. Capitol, wearing desert camouflage and an identical red Trump hat. One video shows people in the crowd smashing police barricades and pushing past officers. The man resembling Epps stands among them, but does not appear to shove the barricades, the Arizona Republic reported.
IMPORTANT: this is exact moment the siege of the Capitol building began as the two men in front ripped down a preliminary barrier & rushed officers who were behind a 2nd barrier
They then encouraged others to follow their lead. Officers appeared to be taken completely off guard pic.twitter.com/LE0a01PXBi
— MASS FORMATION PSYCHOSIS 🇺🇸🇦🇺 (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
Epps was highlighted on an FBI bulletin, but was never arrested or prosecuted, Daily Mail reported. Moreover, details related to him were subsequently removed.
This seems to lack explanation since the feds have made 725 arrests related to the Jan. 6 riots and seek another 350 people for alleged violations, Law Officer reported.
“Miss Sanborn, was Ray Epps a fed?” Cruz asked.
“Sir, I cannot answer that question,” Sanborn replied.
Cruz asked more questions about Epps’ actions, and Sanborn said she could not answer.