The Overlooked FBI Role in the Whitmer ‘Kidnap Plot’

Julie Kelly for RealClearInvestigations wrote the article and posted a fiery exchange last month, where CNN anchorwoman Abby Phillip told GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy that there was “no evidence” to support his claim that federal agents abetted protesters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Ramaswamy shot back that the FBI conspicuously has never denied that law enforcement agents were on duty in the crowd. He argued that federal officials have repeatedly “lied” to the American people about not only that investigation but one that has gotten much less attention: the alleged failed plot to kidnap and kill Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan in 2020. “It was entrapment,” Ramaswamy said. “FBI agents putting them up to a kidnapping plot that we were told was true but wasn’t.” His zeroing in on the Michigan case highlighted an uncharacteristic development in contemporary politics, where progressives vigorously defend law enforcement power while conservatives view it with deep suspicion. Further, Ramaswamy’s linking of Jan. 6 and the Whitmer plot resonated with many on the right who want similarities between the two episodes exposed to the general public, especially the FBI’s reliance on informants and other paid operatives.

The case of the alleged failed plot to kidnap and kill Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan in 2020 has been given less attention since the initial arrests, but further reporting has revealed a dramatic tale. An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News reveals that FBI confidential human sources had a significant influence on the alleged plot, raising questions about whether there would have been a conspiracy without them. Six men faced federal charges of conspiring to kidnap and use a weapon of mass destruction, with further investigation highlighting secretive cash payouts, drug- and booze-fueled parties, and a convicted wife-beating FBI investigator, among other details.

The center of the action was the FBI’s ringleader, Dan Chappel, who was hired as a confidential informant by the FBI and “ingratiated” himself with the men involved in the plot. The media portrayed the reported mastermind of the plot, Adam Fox, as a military leader prepping an army of “white supremacists,” but he lived in a dilapidated basement without running water or a toilet. The group discussed implausible plans, with Chappel documenting and providing real-time access to his FBI handlers. They also discussed a demonstration at the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing, which appeared to be a dress rehearsal for the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. In exchange for his work, the FBI paid Chappel at least $54,000 in cash, along with providing other personal items and funding a rented SUV used to drive his targets.

The case raises concerns about the involvement of FBI informants and undercover agents in influencing the alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. If you’ve enjoyed this article, please make sure to visit me by Julie Kelly for RealClearInvestigations for more on this topic and others.