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Sunday, June 23, 2024

FBI Used Informant, Wiretap and Subpoena Power to Investigate QAnon

'No evidence was collected during the course of this investigation. No criminal subject was identified...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Recently released FBI documents indicate that the bureau opened a preliminary investigation in late 2018, likely issued multiple subpoenas and utilized at least one “highly sensitive” undercover informant to discover the identity of “QAnon”—the internet personality from which numerous conspiracy theories emanated, mostly during the presidency of Donald Trump.

However, the FBI apparently closed its probe in January 2019 without collecting any evidence, according to the heavily redacted records, which the bureau posted on its website last week. Another FBI record about QAnon was drafted in August 2019, but there is no indication that the bureau reopened its investigation.

The records show that the FBI opened a preliminary investigation on August 13, 2018, “based on allegations that an unknown person was posing as a federal government official on internet message boards using the name QANON and potentially profiting off and/or inciting violence by use of their false personation.”

“QANON purports to be a highly placed federal official with a ‘Q Clearance’ and access to the President. QANON purports that there is a conspiracy amongst various law enforcement agencies to overthrow the President,” the FBI records say.

“QANON further states that many current and former members of the government, along with various specifically and generally named celebrities and other U.S. persons are involved in pedophilia and child kidnapping rings.”

The FBI’s investigative strategy reportedly included grand jury subpoenas, conducting interviews and reviewing of financial records.

It’s not clear if a grand jury was involved in the investigation, but the FBI records do say that the bureau’s New York field office attempted to identify QAnon by subpoenaing a person or group of people. The recipient or recipients of subpoenas is redacted from the FBI records.

Additionally, the FBI tapped someone’s phone in October 2018 as part of its investigation.

One of the last records, drafted on Jan. 2, 2019, says that the FBI also used a “highly sensitive intelligence source” in its investigation.

“Recipients are cautioned to avoid taking any action based on this information that could compromise the source without prior contact with the FBIHQ operational division, section, or field office, as appropriate,” the record says.

The rest of this record is redacted.

The records indicate that the FBI closed its investigation in January 2019.

“All investigative techniques and methods have been completed /discontinued. No leads were set during the course of this investigation. No evidence was collected during the course of this investigation,” a Jan. 28, 2019 memo states. “No criminal subject was identified after logical and reasonable preliminary investigation. [An unnamed assistant U.S. Attorney] of the Southern District of New York concurred with closing.”

Throughout Trump’s presidency, Q posted cryptic messages on the websites 4Chan and 8Chan, and the persona’s followers would try to decipher their meaning. This often led to absurd conspiracy theories, such as that Trump was still secretly the president, Hillary Clinton would be executed at Guantanamo Bay and the deceased JFK Jr. would reappear to run for president in 2024 with Trump as his running mate.

Democrats painted QAnon as a dangerous Trump-driven conspiracy that encouraged its adherents to do things such as storm the Capitol.

But people with critical thinking skills posit that it’s more likely QAnon was pushed by the CIA or another intelligence entity, in order to steer people away from valid conspiracies—such as the government-connected Jeffrey Epstein pedophile ring, or the now-credible theory that the FBI’s Russiagate investigation was an attempted coup against Trump.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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