A Virginia man who authorities have accused of serving to plot the assault on the U.S. Capitol has held a top-secret safety clearance for many years, his legal professional says.
WASHINGTON — A person who authorities say is a pacesetter of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and helped to prepare a hoop of different extremists and led them within the assault final month on the U.S. Capitol has held a top-secret safety clearance for many years and beforehand labored for the FBI, his legal professional mentioned Monday.
Thomas Caldwell, who authorities imagine holds a management function within the extremist group, labored as a piece chief for the FBI from 2009 to 2010 after retiring from the Navy, his lawyer, Thomas Plofchan, wrote in a movement urging the choose to launch him from jail whereas he awaits trial.
The protection mentioned Caldwell, who has denied being a part of the Oath Keepers, has held a top-secret safety clearance since 1979, which required a number of particular background investigations, in line with Plofchan. Caldwell additionally ran a consulting agency that did categorized work for the U.S. authorities, the lawyer mentioned.
“He has been vetted and located quite a few occasions as an individual worthy of the belief and confidence of the USA authorities, as indicated by granting him High Secret clearances,” Plofchan wrote.
Most part chiefs inside the FBI rise by the ranks of the bureau and it’s unclear whether or not Caldwell would’ve been straight employed for that place or whether or not he held some other positions with the bureau. The FBI didn’t instantly remark Monday night and Caldwell’s lawyer didn’t instantly reply questions on his consumer’s work.
Caldwell is one in all three folks authorities have described as Oath Keepers who have been charged final month with conspiracy and accused of plotting the assault on the Capitol prematurely. He has been locked up since his arrest at his dwelling in Berryville, Virginia, on Jan. 19.
Caldwell’s lawyer mentioned he denies ever going into the Capitol and has “bodily limitations” that will forestall the 66-year-old from forcing his manner into any constructing.
Caldwell’s lawyer mentioned his consumer retired as a lieutenant commander with the Navy and that he was a “100% disabled veteran.” Caldwell suffered from problems associated to a “service-connected damage,” together with shoulder, again and knee points, the legal professional mentioned. In 2010, Caldwell had spinal surgical procedure, which later failed and led to continual spinal points and a prognosis of post-traumatic stress dysfunction, in line with the courtroom submitting.
RELATED: 1st conspiracy prices towards Proud Boys members in Capitol riot
RELATED: ‘That is our name to motion!’ | Court docket paperwork accuse 3 ‘Oath Keepers’ of conspiring to assault the Capitol
Charging paperwork present messages between Caldwell and the others about arranging lodge rooms within the Washington space within the days earlier than the siege. In a single Fb message from to Caldwell, one the others says: “Will in all probability name you tomorrow … primarily as a result of … I wish to know wtf plan is. You’re the man COMMANDER.”
Authorities say the Oath Keepers communicated throughout the assault about the place lawmakers have been. At one level throughout the siege, Caldwell acquired a message that mentioned “all members are within the tunnels underneath the capital,” in line with courtroom paperwork. “Seal them in activate gasoline,” it mentioned.
Different messages learn: “Tom all legislators are down within the Tunnels 3floors down” and “undergo again home chamber doorways dealing with N left down hallway down steps,” in line with courtroom paperwork.
Caldwell is amongst roughly 200 folks charged to date within the siege for federal crimes reminiscent of disrupting Congress, disorderly conduct and assault. A particular group of prosecutors is weighing whether or not to carry sedition prices, officers have mentioned.
A number of members of the Proud Boys, a far-right, male-chauvinist extremist group that seized on the Trump administration’s insurance policies, have additionally been charged with conspiracy and accused of working collectively throughout the siege.
Richer reported from Boston.