The FBI has infiltrated a militia-like group that a man involved in the pro-Trump uprising in the US Capitol on January 6 formed under the guise of a Bible study group in Virginia.
Members who became involved discussed surveillance of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and their wish for secession from the United States, and investigators closely followed a member’s plans to build and test cocktails molotov, according to recently unsealed court records.
Fi Duong, a northern Virginia man accused of joining the mob that stormed Capitol Hill at the behest of Donald Trump, told an undercover FBI agent he belonged to a militia-like group and coordinated “surveillance efforts”, although the reasons for doing so are therefore undetermined.
An undercover officer attended meetings of Duong’s group and investigators intercepted encrypted communications about post-riot surveillance work, according to court documents.
“How do we feel about an Intel race around the Capitol tonight?” an anonymous associate asked Duong during a February 13 exchange on the encrypted messaging platform, pointing to alleged intelligence-gathering efforts.
“Less of them. Posture can be lowered. Good opportunity to expose weaknesses,” the message continues.
Duong replied, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit: “Poke and prod. But have a legitimate reason to go. Visit a restaurant or something. Get something cheap. Take a walk.
The same associate was seen driving around the US Capitol after telling the group on April 2 that he planned to watch the building.
Duong is one of more than 520 federal defendants charged so far in the Capitol riot.
The FBI has linked dozens of them to far-right extremist groups, including several members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who are accused of conspiring to stage a coordinated attack on January 6.
However, Duong is not charged with instigating acts of violence and prosecutors did not request his pre-trial detention after his arrest last Friday. He was released after his first court appearance.
Sabrina Shroff, an assistant federal public defender who represented Duong at the hearing, declined to comment on the government’s allegations.
A June 30 complaint accuses Duong of disorderly conduct, obstructing official process and knowingly entering or remaining in a building or restricted area without lawful authority.
Duong held meetings at his home in Alexandria, a Washington suburb, the agent’s affidavit states.
The group called itself “a Bible study” but also talked about firearms training events, the FBI said.
At a Feb. 12 meeting, Duong discussed a secession movement in Virginia that he said would be peaceful, according to the affidavit.
A man Duong described as a member of the far-right Three Percenters militia movement addressed a group meeting on March 20, according to the affidavit.
Duong said his unnamed and loosely affiliated group was similar to a Northern Virginia-based militia, but his group’s mission was different because they “can’t be out in the open” and needed to be “a little more cape and dagger. writes the agent.
Duong said he went to the Jan. 6 rally in Washington alone and dressed in all black to look like a “member of Antifa,” referring to anti-fascist activists who often gather at protests, according to the report. affidavit.
Court documents do not reveal Duong’s age. They say his aliases include “Monkey King” and “Jim”.