by Carolyn Bick
Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County has alleged in a press release that agents from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation are responsible for providing “disinformation to local officials during summer protests to obscure a federal role in stoking unrest.” The organization said this information comes directly from a Washington State lawmaker.
The press release, sent out on the evening of Jan. 10, contains a letter addressed to Washington State’s United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as the state’s United States Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith. The letter calls on the four legislators to “demand the appointment of a special counsel to investigate independently any and all criminal acts committed by law enforcement during the summer protests in Seattle and other communities, including Washington, D.C.”
The letter does not name the state representative from whom Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County (BLMSKC) allegedly obtained the information. However, it appears to make a link between the now-infamous abandonment of the East Precinct over the summer and this alleged disinformation.
“In the summer of 2020, officers of the Seattle Police department defied their department command, including Chief Carmen Best, ignored imminent threats to the city and peaceful protesters, and independently coordinated the abandonment of the East Precinct,” the letter reads in bold font.
The letter continues, stating that BLMSKC asked the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate the precinct’s abandonment. It also says that BLMSKC met with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to demand that his office investigate the matter, which it says he refused to do. While the letter does not state that BLMSKC met with the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) to investigate, it accuses the OPA of acting as “an intentionally complicit barrier to authentic accountability,” citing the OPA’s findings that an officer unintentionally pepper-sprayed a child over the summer’s protests.
The letter goes on to read that, recently, BLMSKC was notified by a state lawmaker that there is a federal investigation into FBI agents’ conduct, “and the role they played in the events in Seattle over the Summer of 2020, including whether any FBI personnel intentionally provided local law enforcement with inaccurate intelligence about “outside actors” coming into the state of Washington to incite violence during local protests, in support of white nationalist terrorists and in support of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.”
“Based on additional conversations with lawmakers, executives, and attorneys in government roles, we believe this disinformation was provided to obscure destructive and provocative participation in protests by federal law enforcement,” the letter reads, italicizing the last four words.
Over the summer, Durkan was quoted as saying the FBI gave “specific information” that justified the Seattle Police Department mounting a strong defense, as Capitol Hill Seattle (CHS) put it in one of its first articles on the June abandonment. In an investigative article into the abandonment of the East Precinct, King5 said that the Seattle office of the FBI would not give reporters specifics on the matter. It quoted an FBI supervisory agent who reinforced the idea that there were multiple threats made against the East Precinct “as well as other law enforcement entities at other areas in Seattle.” CHS also put out an in-depth article that discussed lawmakers’ skepticism regarding the intelligence from the FBI.
The letter goes on to say that it “defies logic and common sense” for FBI agents to have been unaware of the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol by Trump supporters, because “the planning and promotion [of the attack] was not just public, it was promoted.”
“It is insulting to the intelligence of reasonable people around the world that the FBI provided intelligence to D.C. and other government law enforcement agencies that assured those agencies the events on January 6, 2021 would be nothing more than a peaceful picnic on the Capitol lawn. These threats have been publicly known for months,” the letter reads.
The letter once again calls on the four legislators to whom it is addressed to “individually and collectively to work with your colleagues to demand the appoint of a special counsel with the independence to investigate and prosecute any and all criminal acts committed by any member of federal law enforcement and specialized law enforcement in its communications about known white nationalist terrorists and any openly-planned and known white nationalist terrorist attacks across the United States,” including in Seattle and Olympia.
The letter says that the Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., were “complicit in white supremacy and the Department of Justice and FBI failed to give accurate intelligence ahead of the insurrection, just as they are alleged to have done during the summer of 2020 to local law enforcement.”
Capitol Police were photographed and videotaped taking selfies with and ushering Trump supporters into the Capitol Building in Wednesday’s attack. They also made no preparations for the impending mob, despite ample warning across multiple social media platforms.
“The appointment of an outside Special Counsel is plainly warranted. An independent investigation by a prosecutor—not subject to dismissal by any political appointee or by any compromised or complicit elected official—is the only way to ensure that all those who participated in this deadly attack on our democracy are held accountable,” the letter reads, and continues, discussing the Department of Justice’s three-pronged test that must be met, in order to warrant the appointment of an outside special counsel.
In the letter, BLMSKC asserts that this test has been met and that “neither the administration, nor the Capitol Police, nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation can be entrusted with investigating itself, especially when the instructions to violate our federal criminal laws came from the president himself.” It also warns that Trump has “repeatedly undermined prior investigations into these groups due to his blatantly corrupt motivation to protect anyone who he thinks is his political ally.”
“The FBI has sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting Saturday and saying an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day to stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official,” the letter reads, before concluding with a repeated request for a special counsel, as well as “an immediate meeting with your office to further discuss and address these urgent issues.”
The Emerald has followed up with BLMSKC about this allegation.
Carolyn Bick is a journalist and photographer based in South Seattle. You can reach them here, and check out more of their work here and here.
Featured image is from the Emerald archives of a Black Lives Matter protest in July.
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