Thursday, November 30, 2023

Top FBI Official in Whitmer Kidnap Case Blames Assistants, Headquarters for Wrongdoing

'I wasn't involved in the inner workings of what was going on...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) As the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit field office, recently retired senior FBI official Steven D’Antuono oversaw the bureau’s controversial investigation into militias that were allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer—a case that was later revealed to be rife with wrongdoing by undercover agents and informants.

D’Antuono has made headlines in conservative media in recent months for criticizing how the Justice Department is handling the Donald Trump classified documents case, but he still hasn’t answered for his role in the Whitmer case.

But according to D’Antuono, his assistant social agents in charge and the FBI Headquarters in Washington DC are to blame for any wrongdoing in Michigan.

In an interview transcript with the House Judiciary Committee released on Tuesday, D’Antuono claimed to have little to do with the Whitmer case. His statement was in response to a question about whether he knew that the informants in the Whitmer case “had issues with their past reporting.”

“I have an [assistant special agent in charge], a supervisor, and the case agents dealing with this. There were several ASACs because it crossed a lot of different territories, the Eastern and Western District of Michigan. Two U.S. Attorney’s Offices involved too,” he said of his time in the Detroit field office.

“I was getting briefed on it. I wasn’t involved in the inner workings of what was going on,” he said.

D’Antuono pled ignorance to issues such as informants provoking the defendants to criminality, or the fact that one of the defendants—Adam Fox—was destitute.

“I was aware that he was living at the basement of a vacuum shop, but I was not aware of the no running water and no toilet,” he said. “I don’t believe that ever came up to me.”

The retired FBI official did, however, recall that one of the FBI agents in the case savagely beat his wife.

“So that was just like, oy vey, you know?” he said of the incident. “That’s not good.”

D’Antuono further revealed that the FBI’s headquarters in Washington DC was heavily involved in the case.

“It’s a [domestic terrorism] case, so it comes into the [Domestic Terrorism Operations Section] and program management of headquarters, right? So there would’ve been opinions thrown back and forth, and I believe there was conversations going back and forth between my people and DTOS and our [Chief Division Counsel] and everyone to say, is there enough predication to open the case?” D’Antuono told the committee.

“It’s one of the higher sensitive cases in the Bureau,” he said.

Despite admitting the high sensitivity of the Whitmer case, later in the interview D’Antuono downplayed the significance of the FBI’s 2020 militia investigation, which spanned at least 15 different states.

“So this case would’ve just been one case out of so many others,” the retired FBI agent claimed.

“It wasn’t that, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is the most incredible case in the world’-type stuff. No. I had a violent crime issue in Detroit too, right?”

D’Antuono was promoted from Detroit special agent in charge to lead the Washington DC field office days after the Whitmer case defendants were arrested, and months before the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill protest took place under his watch. He retired in December 2022 after Republicans took the House and signaled that they’d be investigating the FBI.

According to Tuesday’s interview transcript, a committee staffer asked D’Antuono who in the FBI can provide more information about the Whitmer case, and he recommended three of his then-assistant special agents in charge from Detroit. Two of them are still with the bureau, he said.

But when asked for their names, D’Antuono waffled.

“I don’t want to throw them under the bus,” he said. The interview transcript doesn’t make it clear whether he provided the names to the committee.

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

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