A former FBI official claimed the bureau denied Boston Field Office agents access to 11,000 hours of U.S. Capitol video footage on January 6 out of fear it would reveal the identities of possible undercover officers and confidential informants present at the riot.
Members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government shared video testimony during a hearing Thursday of George Hill, who worked as a supervisory intelligence analyst for the Boston Field Office.
Hill alleged the bureau’s Washington Field Office (WFO) pressured Boston agents to open investigations on 140 individuals who traveled to Washington, D.C., from Massachusetts to attend a political rally supporting former President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.
According to Hill, agents from the WFO told him to open 138 individual investigations based on their association with two Trump supporters who organized a bus trip transporting the group to Washington, D.C., and entered restricted areas of the nation’s Capitol building. WFO officials provided pictures of the two individuals inside the Capitol but refused to provide video evidence.
Hill told the WFO that Boston agents would look into the matter based on evidence that showed the 138 other individuals were inside the Capitol building, but would refuse to open up additional cases for simply attending a political rally — a First Amendment-protected activity.
“To which WFO said, ‘We can’t show you those videos unless you can tell us the exact time and place those individuals were inside the Capitol,’” Hill said.
Hill said when the Boston agents asked why they wouldn’t allow access to 11,000 hours of surveillance video available, WFO agents allegedly said, “There may be UCs, undercovers, or CHSes, confidential human sources, and we need to protect their identities.”
Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent-in-charge and Hill’s supervisor, confirmed his colleague’s account about WFO asking Boston to open investigations on all 140 individuals, according to the subcommittee’s report. However, Bonavolonta also testified that FBI officials did not brief him on “that level of specificity” regarding Hill’s claim that undercover officers were present in the Capitol.
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