The FBI allegedly paid a publisher of white supremacist literature more than $144,000 over 16-plus years to serve as a confidential informant, according to recent filings in an ongoing domestic extremism case.
These allegations were made earlier this month by Kaleb Cole, an accused member of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen. Cole was arrested in February 2020 for allegedly participating in an Atomwaffen intimidation campaign against Jewish people and journalists of color.
On Aug. 13, Cole filed a motion to suppress evidence seized during the FBI’s search of his Texas home. According to Cole, the FBI failed to disclose the sordid background of one of its confidential informants in the bureau’s application for a search warrant.
“The CI [confidential informant] is a convicted felon and currently owns and operates a publishing company that distributes white supremacist writings,” Cole said in his Aug. 13 filing.
“The CI began his long career as a professional informant in exchange for consideration regarding his sentence on a federal conviction for possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and an unregistered silencer.
“He has continued this work for pay.”
According to Cole, the FBI has paid this white supremacist more than $144,000, including more than $82,000 for his work in this case.
Cole’s attorneys argued that the FBI’s omissions violate requirements for law enforcement to disclose whether their informants have financial or other ulterior motives for providing information.
“The failure to include the information about the CI’s incentives is made more egregious by the fact that the warrant application incriminated Mr. Cole based almost solely on the alleged observations of the CI,” Cole’s motion said.
The Department of Justice admitted in filings last week that the FBI failed to disclose information about the confidential informant’s criminal history—though prosecutors said the search warrant used against Cole was still legally obtained.
By Ken Silva