Accused Capitol rioter had a 'top-secret security clearance,' attorney reveals
Following the deadly U.S. Capitol riots, Navy veteran Thomas Edward Caldwell made headlines when officials alleged that he had led a far-right extremist group during the siege on the federal building. Now, more disturbing details about Caldwell have surfaced.
According to The Washington Post, Caldwell's attorney Thomas K. Plofchan has revealed that in addition to being a retired lieutenant commander for the U.S. Navy, his client also "had top-secret security clearance and served as a section chief for the FBI after leaving the armed forces in 2009."
The remarks came during the motion filed on Monday. Despite federal prosecutors alleging that Caldwell helped to construct a plot to storm the Capitol and hinder lawmakers from affirming the Electoral College certification, Plofchan argues that his client "has disabilities from his military service that would have prevented him from storming the Capitol."
Michael German, a former FBI special agent, weighed in on Caldwell's involvement and how it only increases the level of concern about the Capitol riots.
"The presence of law enforcement officers in the riot reinforces and substantiates the greatest fears many in the public had in the nature of law enforcement in the United States," German said.
In a message that was included with a video of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol, Caldwell could even be heard admitting to unlawfully entering the federal building.
"Us storming the castle," Caldwell allegedly said in the message with the video. "Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!"
On Monday, when Plofchan filed a motion for his client to receive a bond, he insisted Caldwell was not part of the extremist organization. Although he denied his client having any involvement with the organization, he also attempted to defend the possibility by insisting that his views would be protected by the First Amendment.
"Caldwell is not a member of the organization, nor has he ever been a member of the organization, and if he were, such membership would be protected activity under the First Amendment," wrote Plofchan.
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