(Ken Silva, Headline USA) In the 1990s, the FBI ran an operation entailing undercover agents and informants posing as right-wing extremists.
Code-named Patriot Conspiracy, or PATCON, the operation was kept secret until well into the 2000s.
After being made public, FBI informant John Matthews, who was involved in PATCON, claimed in 2011 that the operation was designed to provoke right-wing groups to violence. For their part, the Justice Department and FBI vehemently denied Matthews’s allegations, and court records about his claims are still sealed to this day.
However, an obscure book written by FBI informant Dave Hall and his handler agent, Tym Burkey, provides smoking-gun evidence that corroborates Matthews’s allegations.
The book, Into the Devil’s Den—which was published in 2008, before Matthews went public—reveals that PATCON FBI informant Vince Reed attempted to get right-wing dissidents to start a domestic terrorism cell.
Indeed, on page 126 the book quotes then-Aryan Nations member Ray Redfeairn, who told the book’s co-author, Dave Hall, that he suspected that Reed was working for the feds. At the time, Redfeairn was confiding with Hall because he didn’t know Hall was also informant.
“[Redfeairn] told me that Vince Reed had urged them to create the New Order,” Hall wrote in his book. The New Order was intended to be a recreation of The Order, which was a legitimately terroristic right-wing group that robbed banks in the 1980s and was involved in the assassination of a Jewish radio host.
“[Redfeairn] repeated that he’d never trusted Reed,” the book said.
Also in the book, FBI agent Burkey confirmed that Reed was a federal informant who’d been a top Aryan Nations official since at least 2012.
The revelation that Reed was intentionally trying to get civilians to start a right-wing terrorist group shines new light on research by JM Berger, who wrote in 2012 that Reed was trying to help the FBI prevent—rather than incite—efforts to recreate The Order.
“The predicate for PATCON was the verbal threat against two Austin-based FBI agents … but in practice, its goals were strengthening Reed’s cover by showing he had useful allies and collecting information about rumored efforts to recreate The Order,” Berger wrote in 2012.
“PATCON would serve as a vehicle to collect evidence of the criminal activity of suspected domestic terrorism organizations such as ‘The Order,’” Berger added.
Berger has downplayed the notion that PATCON was an intentional entrapment operation. He has not responded to this report’s questions about the matter.
Berger has also been quiet about PATCON in recent years.
Whereas Berger’s early work exposed FBI malfeasance, journalist Matt Taibbi recently revealed in his Twitter Files reporting that Berger later became a contractor for the State Department’s “Global Engagement Center.” Berger created a tool that’s now being used by the GEC to push censorship on the internet, according to Taibbi.
Matthews, for his part, is unavailable because he has been off the grid since around 2014, when he was going to testify as a witness for Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue in his lawsuit against the U.S. government. Matthews changed his mind about testifying the night before he was supposed to take the stand, leading to Trentadue alleging that the FBI engaged in witness tampering and threatened Matthews.
Trentadue’s allegations have been subject of a court-appointed investigation for the last nearly eight years. The investigation has been conducted behind closed doors, with gag orders on all parties.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.