(Ken Silva, Headline USA) After much prodding, FBI agent Henrick Impola admitted Thursday during the state Whitmer kidnap trial that his own undercover informant trained the men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s governor.
Impola’s admission came when he was questioned about a militia field training exercise conducted at Cambria, Wisconsin in July 2020. According to the FBI, the field training exercise was preparation for the Wolverine Watchmen militia’s mission to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The fact that the Cambria field training exercise, or FTX, was concocted by the FBI has been public knowledge for years.
Buzzfeed News reported in July 2021 that FBI informant Dan Chappel “drove five Watchmen and 6,000 rounds of ammunition to Cambria, Wisconsin, for a national training exercise organized by [another FBI informant, Stephen Robeson].”
“He rented a Suburban for the weekend, paid for gas, and subsidized food and lodging for the group, all courtesy of the FBI,” Buzzfeed reported at the time.
But at Thursday’s trial, agent Impola initially denied that his informant, Chappel, organized the training.
Defense attorney William Barnett, who’s representing defendant Eric Molitor, asked Impola why Chappel is seen on video providing training to the Watchmen.
At first, Impola insisted that Chappel—who claims to be a decorated Iraq War veteran—was simply asking questions about the FTX.
But Barnett persisted, noting that the Wolverine Watchmen performed better than any other militia who participated in the Cambria FTX—“and that’s because they were trained by Dan,” Barnett argued.
“I don’t think so,” Impola countered. “I think [they performed the best in the FTX] because they had the most team training.”
Barnett then asked Impola again who trained the Watchmen. Finally, Impola admitted that his informant provided training.
“Paul Bellar and [informant] Dan were part of the training,” the agent said.
Barnett then emphasized how improper it is for an FBI informant to train others for an alleged terrorist plot.
“How is it that you’re allowing your informant, who’s supposed to be a listening post, to train for an illegal purpose?” the defense attorney asked.
“He’s basically training them for the crime we’re here for, isn’t he?”
Impola insisted that Chappel provided the training to establish his credibility with the militias.
“I told him one of his roles is to make sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets shot. I didn’t want any accidental discharges to happen, and for law enforcement to come on the scene,” Impola said.
“I thought that would be unsafe, so I had discussions with Dan about what training was going to be performed, what his role was, and how he’d be participating.”
Impola’s testimony ended Thursday, and the next witness to testify was undercover FBI agent Mark Schweers. The trial is expected to last about another two weeks.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.