However, Biggs’ allegations, which the FBI does not immediately confirm, are likely to heighten concerns that law enforcement has tolerated violence by the Proud Boys, who have long identified themselves as allies of the police in fighting leftists. Like Biggs, Proud Boy’s national chairman Enrique Tarrio said in media interviews that he had long proactively communicated with law enforcement agencies about Proud Boy’s plans in various cities – plans that routinely resulted in violent confrontations with left-wing protesters.
Trump-era intelligence agencies have been criticized – long denied by top officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray – for pressuring them to heighten the Antifa threat while downplaying the right-wing threat. Former President Donald Trump was invited to denounce the group during a presidential debate in October. Instead, he invited the Proud Boys to “Stand Back and Stand By”, which the group interpreted as a rally cry and adopted as the motto.
The relationship between law enforcement and the Proud Boys has become a major issue after more than a dozen members of the group, including several key leaders, were accused of participating in the attack on the Capitol. One, Dominic Pezzola, is accused of breaking a capitol window with a shield earlier that day, leading to the first wave of rioters to enter the building. And in one case that was unsealed earlier this month, Biggs – along with three other regional leaders – was charged with a far-reaching conspiracy to seek Congressional efforts on January 6 to confirm the victory of President Joe Biden’s electoral college disturb.
Per Biggs ‘attorney, John Daniel Hull, Biggs’ July meeting at the restaurant sparked a relationship between Biggs and the local FBI agent that kept them in regular contact for months. “You spoke often,” said Hull.
When Biggs – an Army veteran who toured Iraq and Afghanistan – learned that the FBI had received pictures of him in the Capitol, he reached out to the same agent and, according to Hull, planned to surrender himself.
Biggs suggested through his court record that he had had a relationship with the office since 2018 when he started organizing Proud Boys events and promoting their efforts on social media and radio. He personally “planned” two Proud Boys events in Portland, Oregon to counter Antifa.
“As part of the planning, Biggs spoke regularly by phone and in person with local and federal law enforcement agencies based in Portland, including the FBI Field Office in Portland,” said Hull. “These conversations should both politely inform law enforcement agencies about Proud Boy’s activities in Portland and seek advice on planned marches or demonstrations, ie which routes to take on the streets of Portland, where to go and where not to go. Similar discussions were held regularly with local police and FBI personnel about less important events in other cities. “
In late 2018, Hull wrote, the FBI began proactively reaching out to Biggs to inquire about his provocative comment, which was widely posted on the pro-Trump Right Side Broadcasting Network or InfoWars. And Biggs has been in contact with several FBI agents since then, he said.
In a separate file, Seattle Proud Boys organizer Ethan Nordean, who was charged with Biggs on the alleged conspiracy, filed excerpts from 1,500 pages of Proud Boys Telegram messages transmitted by prosecutors as part of an ongoing pretrial discovery. This news, according to Nordean, shows that instead of carrying out a well-orchestrated conspiracy, the members of Proud Boys were disorganized and confused about their January 6th plans – also because Tarrio was arrested and exiled from Washington, DC on January 4th – and surprised that the crowd of pro-Trump norms helped overtake the Capitol.
Nordean also filed two affidavits – from musician Michale Graves and his manager Arturo Santaella – indicating that Nordean Graves performed for the Proud Boys on the afternoon of January 6th. According to Nordean’s lawyer, this agreement would have made little sense if Nordean had planned a violent uprising that day.
Although the Proud Boys and another militia charged with a Jan. 6 conspiracy have claimed the Oath Keepers are in Washington, it is not to disrupt Congress but to protect pro-Trump protesters from Antifa, A federal judge has stressed that a conspiracy doesn’t have to be planned well in advance to be a legitimate charge. Judge Amit Mehta, who heads the Oath Keepers case, has said that it actually only needs to be hatched now or on the fly.