Jan. 6 ‘Electronic Surveillance Unit’ Was ‘Illegal,’ Says Rep. Gohmert; Attorney Suggests ‘Entrapment’

'We can’t have secret units doing secret surveillance of people that have committed no crime, no probable cause of a crime. Just getting blanket surveillance.'
By Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson
Reporter
Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: patricia.tolson@epochtimes.us
June 27, 2022 Updated: June 27, 2022

As previously reported in an exclusive June 20 report, evidence proves that “plainclothes” members of a special Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU) were embedded among Jan. 6, 2021, protesters for the purposes of conducting video surveillance. According to experts, one believes the activity itself may have been against the law. The other contends it was done for the purpose of entrapment.

Against the Law?

Speaking as a former prosecutor and three-term District Judge, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told The Epoch Times, “if you’re going to have electronic surveillance of people there has to be warrants.”

As Gohmert explained, “FISA courts have granted warrants,” with “no particular clarity” and “no probable cause that a crime’s been committed or that this person engaged in a crime.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was established under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). “Pursuant to FISA,” the FISC website explains, “the Court entertains applications submitted by the United States Government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes.”

Regarding domestic electronic surveillance, the Department of Justice (DOJ) website, “Because of the well-recognized intrusive nature of many types of electronic surveillance, especially wiretaps and ‘bugs,’ and the Fourth Amendment implications of the government’s use of these devices in the course of its investigations, the relevant statutes (and related Department of Justice guidelines) provide restrictions on the use of most electronic surveillance, including the requirement that a high-level Department official specifically approve the use of many of these types of electronic surveillance prior to an Assistant United States Attorney obtaining a court order authorizing interception.”

Furthermore, “when court authorization for video surveillance is deemed necessary, it should be obtained by way of an application and order predicated on Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(b) and the All Writs Act (28 U.S.C. § 1651). The application and order should be based on an affidavit that establishes probable cause to believe that evidence of a Federal crime will be obtained by the surveillance. In addition, the affidavit should comply with certain provisions of the Federal electronic surveillance statutes.”

Gohmert surmised: “When you see confirmed judges are just willing to completely abrogate the U.S. Constitution because they’re the star chamber of the secret court, and they figure nobody will ever find out what they’re doing, then you know when you see there’s an Electronic Surveillance Unit, well, something’s not right.”

Gohmert’s concerns with the ESU surveillance are two-fold:

  1. Were the legally required warrants obtained?
  2. If so, how could a judge approve a warrant for surveillance before a crime has been committed and with no probable cause?

“We can’t have secret units doing secret surveillance of people that have committed no crime, no probable cause of a crime. Just getting blanket surveillance,” Gohmert asserted. “We don’t know what kind of warrant they had or even if they had warrants. But to deploy Electronic Surveillance Units tells us there’s a lot more here that we need to find out about and obviously it’s not going to be uncovered at least for another six months.”

But Gohmert added that “there is also more information we haven’t gotten and information that continues to leak out drip by drip.”

“Like this in [article] The Epoch Times,” Gohmert noted, “pointing out how until the deployment of munitions, the crowd was peaceful. I had heard from people and seen people interviewed saying there wasn’t any violence out there. ‘We were just mulling around, chanting stuff from time to time, then they started firing on us with tear gas and provoked the crowd.’ They created chaos, and you just wonder what was going on.”

The Evidence

Evidence of the embedded ESU members was discovered in a Jan. 3, 2021, First Amendment Demonstrations report, issued by Chief of Police Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Homeland Security Bureau, Special Operations Division, obtained exclusively by The Epoch Times. While it is unclear who the MPD ESU “members” were, the report stated they wore a specific “bracelet on their left wrist identifying them as MPD personnel” among the protesters. Of the 37 “Specialized Units” listed as part of the MPD, an ESU is not among them.

Photo of bracelet worn my plainclothes members of the Metrolpilitan Police Department's Electronic Surveillance Unit, embedded in the crowds on January 6, 2021.
Photo of bracelet worn by plainclothes members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Electronic Surveillance Unit, embedded in the crowds on Jan. 6, 2021 to “document the actions of the demonstrators and MPD’s response to any civil disobedience or criminal activity.” (Metropolitan Police Department First Amendment Demonstrations report.)

Also in the report, revealed now for the first time, was the advisory that the Special Operations Division “will have personnel to assist with this detail and will assist with any demonstration.” Among them were Domestic Security Officers, or DSOs.

The Special Operations Division is part of the United States Secret Service, which is part of Homeland Security.

Under the heading of “Special Operations Division — Deployment Requirements,” the report said “the Incident Commander” shall ensure that specific objectives were “adhered to.” Among those is the order that “Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) – The LRAD along with the warning sheets shall be deployed by the DSO members along with the munitions load out and arrest kits.”

Domestic Security Officers (pdf) are also part of Homeland Security’s Special Operations Division.

Epoch Times Photo
Homeland Security Organizational Flowchart (ACTIVE MPD Org Charts)

According to The Focus, the DSO “can be heard shouted on audio recordings of the Capitol siege, when law enforcement officers needed additional support against the oncoming masses.”

“DSOs are primarily used as riot police, to dole out such crowd control measures as tear gas, pepper spray, batons and rubber bullets intended to disperse rioters. Their weapons can be lethal and are only to be used in the most extreme circumstances.”

Video evidence shows an unidentified individual handing weapons to people through a window from inside the Capitol building.

Joseph McBride, an attorney for multiple January 6 prisoners and defendants identified a man tagged by “Sedition Hunters” as “Red-Faced 45.” The man McBride says is “clearly law enforcement,” was dressed in red from head to toe—with even his face painted red. He appears in a video engaging in continuous dialogue with others whom McBride also insists are agents embedded in the crowd.

“He passes out weapons, sledgehammers, poles, mace. Some of those things come in contact with some of the other protesters who have subsequently been charged with possessing dangerous weapons and are using dangerous weapons at the Capitol. That is clearly entrapment.

That is clearly the government creating conditions of dangerousness and entrapping members of the crowd to possess weapons and possibly use them for reasons that we cannot comprehend.”

According to a 140-page report issued by then-Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton—”Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol”—Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit was ordered by supervisors not to use the department’s most powerful tools, like stun guns. Also, “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership.”

However, the “UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOR JANUARY 6, 2021 ATTACK,” also obtained by The Epoch Times, says “Less lethal munitions” were “deployed to Center Steps” at 1:59 p.m. after “Insurrectionists breach Inauguration Stage and begin tearing things down” and “breach barrier at the north side of the plaza.”

It does not specify if these munitions were “flash bangs” or “tear gas.”

Screenshot from UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FORJANUARY 6, 2021ATTACK showing moment "less lethal munitions" were "deployed to center steps."
Screenshot from UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOR JANUARY 6, 2021 ATTACK showing the moment “less lethal munitions” were “deployed to center steps.” (Obtained by The Epoch Times)

Prior to the deployment of munitions, a video shown on Red Voice Media shows that at 1:05 p.m., an unnamed officer is repeatedly encouraging people to climb onto the bleachers of the inaugural stage.

On January 6, 2021, tear gas was fired into crowd of pro-Trump protesters well before the violence began. Even with the tear gas, the crowd remained orderly..
Tear gas fired into the crowd of pro-Trump protesters well before the violence began on Jan. 6, 2021. Even with the tear gas, the crowd remained orderly. (Courtesy of J. Michael Waller)

From multiple eyewitness accounts and video evidence, the crowds were relatively peaceful and calm until after munitions were launched and rubber bullets were fired into the crowd.

Video footage shows flash grenades being launched into a group of protesters, consisting of women, children, and elderly people, who were standing peacefully behind barriers. According to American Greatness, Capitol Police were also firing on the crowd with rubber bullets. The approximate time of the confrontation was around 1:36 p.m.

A gallery slideshow from TMZ, reporting damage “after Capitol riots” shows damage only to the fabric, not the bleachers themselves.

The evidence raises the questions:

  1. Are the DSOs, rather than Capitol Hill police or the MPD, the ones who launched flash bangs into the crowd?
  2. Are DSOs the ones seen in videos doling out weapons to people in the crowd?
  3. What about the LRAD?

According to Acentech, a company with 70 years of acoustic expertise, “LRAD systems are a type of Acoustic Hailing Device (AHD), used to send messages over long distances. LRAD systems produce much higher sound levels (volume) than normal loudspeakers or megaphones.”

Over shorter distances, LRAD signals are loud enough to cause pain in the ears of people in their path. LRAD systems have recently been used by police as “sonic weapons” to break up crowds. At first blush, the use of noise rather than physical force might seem like a safe, non-lethal way to move and direct crowds, but if used improperly they can cause permanent hearing damage.

There does not appear to be any evidence that the LRAD was deployed.

Outrageous Government Conduct

According to Joseph McBride, the attorney for several Jan. 6 prisoners and defendants, “if they had memos that preexisted January 6, that the D.C. Police and/or the FBI or the CIA or anybody else had the time to organize and send operatives or undercovers into the crowd whether it was to collect evidence or to videotape or for any other legitimate or illegitimate purpose, this, by definition would be they had foreknowledge of what was going to happen.”

McBride added that “they could have and should have and most likely didn’t, share that information with the relative authorities.”

By comparison to the ill-prepared CDU and unused National Guard during Jan. 6, in anticipation of violent protests regarding the leaked Supreme revealing the likely overturn of Roe v. Wade, McBride noted how security was heightened and law enforcement was quick to fortify the Supreme Court building with tall fencing.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Capitol Police guard a security fence surrounding the Supreme Court in Washington on June 8, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“They did not do that on January 6,” Mc Bride said.” The question is—Why?”

To McBride, Jan. 6 easily clears the high bar set to prove the rare defense known as “outrageous government conduct.”

“In most cases,” Doug Murphy Law explains on its website, “the courts presume that the government is acting reasonably when they pursue criminal charges against an individual.”

“As long as the federal government’s intentions are good, the courts will not prevent a case from moving forward. However, some conduct by the federal government is so outrageous that moving forward with a criminal prosecution violates a defendant’s due process rights. This is a high bar to prove, as it must involve acts so fundamentally unfair that justice would prevent a criminal prosecution.”

“In layman’s terms,” McBride said “it has to do with when the government behaves in a way that’s so outrageous and so out of bounds of what is decent and normal that, but for their participation, things would have happened differently that day.”

Considering the mounting evidence from eyewitness accounts that law enforcement was directly involved in encouraging, inviting, provoking, instigating, participating, and trying to cover up the truth about the origins of the violence on Jan. 6, it becomes a legitimate defense to anyone who may be charged with crimes related to Jan. 6 “because the government was engaged in a bunch of things that rose to the level of being outrageous,” McBride asserted.

“Their job is to prevent things from happening. What happened was they participated in making things happen, with advanced knowledge, and therefore, they themselves are on the hook. You can’t say John Doe and Jane Doe are going to be charged with January 6-related crimes But officer X and Officer Y, who did the same thing, are going to get a pass because they are with the government. That [expletive] doesn’t fly.”

Entrapment

“My Spidey senses tell me they used the documentation of things through surveillance was for the purposes of entrapment. The idea of an Electronic Surveillance Unit roaming through a crown is highly dubious. The only time I have ever seen law enforcement do this, they have almost always been accused of doing this to rile up the crowd,” said McBride.

Julie Kelly—a political consultant in Illinois and senior contributor for American Greatness—described Jan. 6, 2021, as “an inside job” and “something Democrats and some Republicans and federal agencies put together to entice” and “entrap” people who went to hear former President Donald Trump’s speech. She further noted that the FBI used agents to try to infiltrate the so-called militia groups. Jeremy Brown exposed a video of FBI Terrorist Task Force agents attempting to recruit him to spy on fellow Oath Keepers.

McBride described first-hand how he saw people in the crowd “at the tunnel entrance” on Jan. 6 “videotaping all over the place.”

“They were cops, clearly,” he recalled. “They were working in concert with other people in the crowd who were causing discord, using hand signals. There were people there causing the fights and there were people videoing it. The job of a police officer is to prevent crime. It’s not to record it. If something is happening, you prevent it from happening. The fact that they let it happen and sowed up only to record it, it has entrapment written all over it.”

2022 Elections

Despite what Gohmert sees as lies, injustice, and mounting unanswered questions surrounding Jan. 6, he believes the turning of the tide is dependent upon who comes out of the 2022 primary elections with control of the House and Senate, and until Congress can “properly addresses the unconstitutionality of federal judges granting warrants that never should have been granted,” Gohmert said, “this kind of stuff is going to go on.”

“If Republicans get the majority back we have got to get to the bottom of these matters,” Gohmert vowed. “There won’t be any way to undo the jail sentences of these people who were illegally entrapped. But there will be a way to put people in jail that committed crimes in order to create the chaos.”

Still, there is one of the questions that nags Gohmert.

“Since we know there were provocations on January 6 and we know that there were people that were provided weapons from people that may have been planted by the federal government, you can’t help but wonder, how many Democrats if any, who are making the most noise now about the horrors of January 6, knew that this was a setup?”

The Epoch Times reached out to the MPD for comment.

Patricia Tolson
Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: patricia.tolson@epochtimes.us