Here's why so many Jan. 6 suspects have still not been arrested by the FBI
Plus, antisemitic death threats, California bomb plots and ... Dilbert. It's the week in extremism.
My USA TODAY investigation this week drills into why hundreds of alleged Jan. 6 insurrectionists have not been arrested, despite long ago having been identified to the FBI by volunteer investigators. Meanwhile, a man was arrested for threatening Jewish politicians in Michigan and the state attorney general says she was a target. And police in Fresno, California, arrest five people with white supremacist material after a spate of recent bombings.
It's the week in extremism.
Capitol riot suspects never arrested:After Jan. 6 riot, hundreds of identifiable people remain free. FBI arrests could take years
Identified Jan. 6 rioters still free
At least 100 people on the FBI's wanted list for the Jan. 6 insurrection have been identified and reported to the bureau, but have not yet been arrested, as I reported in a deep-dive investigation published Thursday.
- How: The Jan. 6 rioters were identified by amateur online sleuths known collectively as "sedition hunters." Members of the group said they have reported hundreds more rioters who they say committed crimes, but who are not on the FBI's wanted list.
- Just because those wanted rioters haven't been arrested doesn't mean they won't be one day, said former federal prosecutor Pat Cotter. “The fact that he hasn't been picked up yet, or charged,” Cotter said, “doesn't mean he's not on the government's radar.”
- I reported on several reasons for the perceived delay: The sheer scale of prosecutions and the resources needed to bring thousands of people to justice; a "traffic jam" in the Washington, D.C., court system, and the fact that federal prosecutors often end up charging suspects just days before the statute of limitations on their crimes runs out.
These reasons don't satisfy everyone. Several sedition hunters told me they're getting frustrated: “It's incredibly frustrating when, in March of 2021, you gave the FBI a complete dossier and, two years later, you're seeing pictures of the guy on his Facebook celebrating his son's wedding,” sedition hunter Forrest Rogers said. “And you know that two years ago he was punching a photographer and pepper-spraying police officers.”
Antisemitic threats to Michigan officials
Federal officials have charged a man with "transmitting an interstate threat" after allegedly tweeting antisemitic death threats against Michigan government officials, according to newly unsealed court filings.
"I'm heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is jewish in the Michigan govt if they don't leave, or confess," Jack Eugene Carpenter III wrote, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Michigan.
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday she was one of the targets. "The FBI has confirmed I was a target of the heavily armed defendant in this matter," Nessel said on Twitter. "It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my Hate Crimes & Domestic Terrorism Unit takes plots to murder elected officials."
- According to the complaint, though, the discovery began not with the target but with the threat itself. FBI agents received a copy of the tweet and found the user had previously posted a "declaration of sovereignty" for his address. They identified the man from the addressed, obtained the location coordinates for the his phone from AT&T, and found he was in Texas, making the case an interstate-threat case.
- As CNN reported Thursday, "Although court documents did not reference Nessel or other officials by name, the attorney general said in a tweet Thursday that she was among the targets."
More:FBI agents monitor social media. As domestic threats rise, the question is who they're watching
California men arrested after series of bombings
Police in Fresno detained five men after a series of bombings in the city. A local task force set up to investigate the bombings also seized white supremacist paraphernalia including flags adorned with swastikas, according to the Sacramento Bee. Police also found bomb-making equipment, firearms and methamphetamine, the Bee reported.
- Fresno has seen five bombings of four cars and a mailbox since Dec. 22.
- Local police are still trying to ascertain whether the men are members of a known white supremacist group.
Context: White supremacist groups — particularly those aligned with "accelerationism" — have a long history of planting bombs and causing other property damage. Accelerationists seek to foment a race war and ensuing dystopia to bring about a race-based new global order.
More:The extremist watchers: How a network of researchers is searching for the next hate-fueled attack
Statistic of the week: 2,000
That's how many newspapers used to carry the "Dilbert" cartoon, as boasted by the cartoon's former distributor, Andrews McMeel Universal, which made the claim as recently as last week, according to NPR.
Andrews McMeel dropped Dilbert on Sunday, following backlash against the comic strip's creator, Scott Adams. Adams had already been dropped by hundreds of newspapers (including the USA TODAY network) after he went on a racist rant on his YouTube show.
Last week in extremism:Evidence that Colorado Springs Club Q shooting was motivated by LGBTQ hatred