Secret Service agents were in contact with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes before he helped lead an insurrection on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to a new report.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, published emails on Wednesday revealing that a member of the Secret Service told other agents in September 2020 that he had received a call from Rhodes informing him that the far-right white nationalist group planned to provide “security details” around Donald Trump’s visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The email detailed that the Oath Keepers security detail would be composed of “primarily retired law enforcement/former military members who are very pro-LEO [law enforcement officer] and Pro Trump. Their stated purpose is to provide protection and medical attention to Trump supporters if they come under attack by leftist groups.”
The Secret Service member who spoke to Rhodes even admitted to other members in the agency that he was an Oath Keeper himself. “I am the unofficial liaison to the Oath Keepers (inching towards official),” he wrote.
The CREW report confirms Rhodes’ claims last year that the far-right group had a contact within the Secret Service. Rhodes admitted this during his trial, when he was charged with seditious conspiracy for attempting to stop Joe Biden’s presidential win.
It’s not clear from the CREW report whether the contact continued past September 2020, but the government watchdog notes that the agent claiming to be an “unofficial liaison” suggests a longer-term relationship.
In addition to having ties to the January 6 insurrection, Oath Keepers have worked alongside the Ku Klux Klan, deploying members at polling sites to watch voters, and have compared Hillary Clinton to Hitler on their website.