Michael Flynn associate among the first wave of rioters to breach Capitol barricades on January 6th
A close associate of retired Lt. General Michael Flynn was among the first wave of rioters who breached the outer barricades at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Raw Story has confirmed.
Brian Gamble, a US Navy veteran and QAnon promoter who now serves as chief information officer of a nonprofit led by Flynn, showed up at the barricades erected at the entrance to the Northwest Walkway about 30 minutes before a crowd that included hundreds of Proud Boys massed there and eventually overwhelmed police lines. Gamble’s presence has been described in podcasts by Tim Hart, a fellow QAnon promoter who accompanied Gamble on Jan. 6 and is currently facing two felony charges related to his involvement in the attack on the Capitol.
Publicly available video shows Gamble, who was dressed in a black helmet inscribed with the words “Kill the Deep State”, a black tactical shirt and black gloves while carrying a bullhorn and chest-mounted GoPro camera, at the front of the line when three successive barriers were breached, allowing rioters to stream onto the Capitol lawn. Gamble and Hart made their way to the Lower West Plaza, where rioters battled police in riot gear, and eventually rushed up a staircase in the scaffolding erected for Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Patrick Byrne, the former Overstock.com CEO who has financed a string of election-denier efforts while working alongside Flynn since 2020, told Raw Story that Gamble disclosed his presence at the Capitol when he hired him at the America Project in May 2021. The America Project was founded by Byrne, along with Michael Flynn and his younger brother, Joe Flynn.
“On the morning of January 6, Brian decided on this approach: He would walk towards the Capitol until someone told him to stop,” Byrne said in a text to Raw Story. “When someone told him to leave, he would leave. And in between the two, he would do to [sic] keep everyone calm, assist anyone who needed it. And if an opportunity arose to assist the police in keeping things peaceful, he would do so. He followed that plan.”
Hart said in an interview with the QAnon program Bards Logic earlier this year that the sound was bad at the Ellipse, where President Trump was speaking, and he suggested to Gamble, whom he referred to as “my buddy,” that they should “just walk down to the Capitol” so they could “be the first in line.”
Hart has described his movements with Gamble on Jan. 6 on different podcasts, along with an interview for Patriot Soap Box, a QAnon-friendly program, that he joined live after he and Gamble returned to their hotel room following the attack on the Capitol.
“There was three gates; this is the first one that — basically, me and Brian stayed there for half an hour and just chilled and talked,” Hart explained on the program while showing video footage he recorded. “And then a lot of people got up in there. And then they basically just pushed from behind and we were, uh, I mean, like literally bowling pins and just kind of pushing the gates down. And it wasn’t like I was trying. I was talking to the people, the guards there, and they knew we weren’t the ones pushing.”
Hart was playing Trump’s speech on a portable radio, and the timing of Trump’s remarks confirms that Hart and Gamble were at the barrier at 12:28 p.m. — roughly 30 minutes before the initial breach.
During the interview, Hart suggested that he and Gamble assessed the barricades at the Northwest Walkway for vulnerabilities.
Gamble can be seen in the background of the video as Hart turns to him and says, “They weren’t very prepared, were they? We were like, ‘Man, that looks like a weak spot there.’ We would say it to ourselves, and then it wasn’t two minutes later that they’re — I don’t know.”
Brian Gamble and Tim Hart discuss security at US Capitol youtu.be
Gamble told Raw Story he was not familiar with the video, and declined to directly address Hart’s statement.
“It’s a shame that people like you are more about division and not unity, and so that’s all I’ve got to say,” he said before hanging up the phone.
While falsely claiming that nothing was destroyed in the Capitol building, Hart said in the Patriot Soapbox interview: “After the results I seen that the bastards did tonight I’m thinking maybe they should have burned it down. Then they could have at least held the vote off.”
Gamble can be seen in the video directly behind Hart as he made the statement.
In another segment of Hart’s interview, an unidentified woman said she wanted to get someone to read from the Book of Esther, a text embraced by Christian nationalists.
“Esther’s a really good book to read for things in times like this,” the woman said. “Remember, Haman was hung on his own gallows.”
“I’m thinking what they do in times like this is — I’m thinking them patriots that got pepper-sprayed in the face are going back and being like, ‘Damn, I need to clean my guns,’” Hart responded. “I mean, I don’t understand what the other options are after this. We’ll sit back and wait a little bit longer. But this whole Q thing was to keep patriots from storming the freaking White House.”
Byrne said Gamble disclosed to him during his job interview that he had been interviewed by federal investigators, adding that “they let him know that the videos of his behavior had all been examined and it had been broadly noted that he had acted as a good citizen.”
Online researchers who began poring over video footage of the Jan. 6 attack identified Gamble as early as April 2021. Hart was charged with obstruction of justice/Congress and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, along with four additional charges connected to his actions inside the Capitol building, in June 2021, but Gamble has not been arrested. The FBI did not respond to an inquiry about Gamble from Raw Story.
In an interview with the Firearms of America YouTube channel shortly after he joined the America Project, Gamble disclosed that he had been fired from his job because of the FBI investigation.
“You know, the FBI contacted my employer,” Gamble told host Frank Valentine. “What do you do? They contact your employer, and say, ‘Although he’s not under investigation or being charged with anything — yet… we just want to let you know, be aware of this person’s extracurricular activities. Which, technically, is code for saying he hangs out with General Flynn. I mean, General Flynn is the most crucified politician.”
After briefly serving as Trump’s national security advisor, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The Department of Justice later moved to drop its prosecution of the case, and in November 2020 — during the interim period between the 2020 election and Biden’s inauguration — President Trump issued a pardon to Flynn.
Flynn emerged as one of the most visible champions of Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen, simultaneously leveraging his past military service and martyr status as a supposed target of the “Deep State.”
On the eve of the attack on the Capitol, Flynn addressed supporters at Freedom Plaza, using language that invoked struggle and suggested a historic inflection point was at hand.
“Tomorrow, tomorrow — trust me — the American people that are standing on the soil that we are standing on tonight, and they’re going to be standing on this soil tomorrow — this is soil that we have fought over, fought for, and that we will fight for in the future,” Flynn said. “The members of Congress, the members of the House of Representatives, the members of the United States Senate, those of you who are feeling weak tonight, those of you who don’t have the moral fiber in your body, get some tonight because tomorrow we the people are going to be here and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie.”
Gamble is not the only associate of Michael Flynn who has been identified as being at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Publicly available video shows Geoffrey Flohr, a former Michigan State Police officer who previously served in Flynn’s security detail during a rally on Dec. 12, moving around the east side of the Capitol less than 20 minutes before rioters broke through a barricade there. Flohr was a member of 1st Amendment Praetorian, a volunteer security group that provided protected details to Flynn, Ali Alexander, Brandon Straka and other leaders in the effort to overturn the election. No member of 1st Amendment Praetorian, including Flohr, has been arrested in connection with the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6. But a lawyer for the group has disclosed that Joshua James, a member of the Oath Keepers who has pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy, had been a member of 1st Amendment Praetorian prior to Jan. 6.
During his appearance before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Flynn asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege to not give testimony that could be used against him a criminal proceeding when asked by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.): “Do you believe the violence on January 6th was justified?”
In a public statement released earlier this year in response to the committee, Flynn said it was "a flat-out lie that I had anything to do with any person or organization who intended to act, or who acted, unlawfully on January 6."
During a pro-Trump event in Fort Myers, Fla. in July 2021, Gamble said he received a phone call from “Flynn” shortly after he was fired from his job. Gamble did not specify whether the call was from Michael Flynn or Joe Flynn, but said the caller put him in touch with Byrne, who interviewed him for the position and ultimately hired him.
Gamble appears to have come to the Flynn family’s attention after organizing the first Red Pill Roadshow event with his wife at the Washington Monument in September 2019. Gamble said his wife asked him to help her put together the event to create a forum QAnon supporters to meet in person after some of her favorite influencers were “censored.” Afterwards, they celebrated the success of the event at the Trump International Hotel, and Gamble said he ran into Brad Parscale, the digital media director for the Trump campaign.
Gamble told Valentine that he attended at a book-signing event for Sidney Powell, who represented Flynn in his effort to get his federal charge dismissed. Gamble said he handed a “Magic Q-ball” — a novelty item he marketed to defray costs for Red Pill Roadshow — to Powell and asked her to pass it on to Michael Flynn.
Suddenly, Gamble recounted, he felt two hands on his shoulders and turned around to find a man saying, “Red Pill Roadshow? The Flynn family are huge fans of yours.”
During an Aug. 20, 2020 interview with QAnon influencer Dustin Nemos to promote an upcoming event in Jacksonville, Fla. that was timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention, Gamble said that he had spoken with a member of the Flynn family earlier that day. Gamble said the topic of the call was about Michael Flynn potentially joining the event remotely or the family providing a pre-recorded statement.
Despite providing a platform for QAnon influencers and marketing QAnon-themed merchandise, Gamble tends to downplay his association with the conspiracy theory. He told Valentine that his wife “was following” the QAnon movement at the time of the first event in 2019, adding, “I don’t agree with what their beliefs are, but I know that they’re Americans and what they’re saying is protected by our First Amendment.”
Many of Gamble’s statements in response to coverage of his Red Pill Roadshow events follow a three-part pattern of denying and deflecting attention from his association with QAnon, emphasizing free speech, and attacking the news media.
Responding to coverage by a local NBC affiliate about Michael Flynn’s appearance at an event in southwest Florida in March 2021, Gamble told a conservative outlet: “To say we’re a QAnon event or anything like that — nothing could be further from the truth. We’re free speech event.” He went on to condemn media coverage of the event as “the typical scare tactic used against our events to try and suppress opposing political views in the public domain.”
Gamble’s criticism dovetails with Flynn’s efforts to discredit the news media.
Flynn ended an interview with an Associated Press reporter in February 2022 after she asked him if he communicated with his brother, Gen. Charles Flynn, on Jan. 6.
“Because of this interview, I will never talk to AP again,” Flynn said. He added, “I’m so sick of this because it’s all so fake and it’s so targeted. It’s all about, ‘We’re gonna get this guy.’”
Gamble told Nemos that he developed a disdain for the news media while serving in the US Navy in the Balkans in the late 1990s.
As a 19-year-old service member with Cosmic Top Secret clearance — giving him access to sensitive information held by NATO allies — Gamble said he would review “message traffic,” and then “come out of my tent” and “see a CNN correspondent saying something that has absolutely nothing to do with the truth.
“My field is information, so yeah, I’ve been a digital soldier — I’ve been a thorn in their side since the nineties, so a digital soldier for some time,” Gamble added. “So, yeah, that’s how I got into this.”
It was in the US Navy, Gamble told an audience in Fort Myers in July 2021, that he received training in psychological operations.
“And I was rushed into this program to where I started learning about information warfare, psychological operations and information analysis and stuff like that,” he said. “So, I had a unique perspective about how the United States military processes information.”
In another interview with Michael Thompson at the Florida Conservative, Gamble said he was discharged from the military under a reduction of forces program during the Clinton administration. After leaving the military, he said he created Yahoo online chat rooms.
“Like, we were Alex Jones in the late nineties on the internet, before it was cool, I guess you could say,” Gamble said.
Gamble’s training in psychological operations mirrors his boss, Michael Flynn’s background in military intelligence. Flynn served as director of intelligence in the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prior to heading the US Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014.
“America Project — we are information experts,” Gamble told Thompson. “That is one of the reasons I landed there with my background.”
The America Project is described on its website as “the largest support network of America First, pro-freedom organizations, businesses and individuals,” with six focus areas in “election integrity, medical freedom, border security, parental rights, Second Amendment rights and freedom of religion.”
Discussing the nonprofits’ work with Thompson, Gamble described it as a “counterbalance” to liberal financier and philanthropist George Soros, a bogeyman of the far right.
“We’re developing the systems, the platforms, the networks,” Gamble said. “Now, when a bus shows up, we got two buses showing up — and the information and organization and the funding that takes to really counter what they’re doing.”
Gamble has cultivated ties with two extremist groups that featured prominently in the attack on the Capitol. His name is listed on a membership roster of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers that was leaked through the group Distributed Denial of Secrets last year. The entry for Gamble indicates that he paid an annual membership, but does not include a date for the transaction. Raw Story was able to reach Gamble by calling the phone number listed in the Oath Keepers membership roster.
Five members of the Oath Keepers, including founder Stewart Rhodes, are currently on trial in Washington, DC for seditious conspiracy in connection with their actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
More recently, in July 2021, Gamble disclosed that he had met with Enrique Tarrio, at one time the national chairman of the Proud Boys. Tarrio was arrested seven months later, in March 2022, and is also charged with seditious conspiracy, along with four other Proud Boys leaders. In July, Gamble posted a photo on Facebook of himself and Tarrio giving the middle finger to the camera. The text accompanying the photo reads, “Dear Christopher Wray,” apparently addressing the FBI director.
Brian Gamble and Tim Hart at Lower West Plaza youtu.be
After Gamble and Hart joined the group of rioters that pushed through the barricades at the Northwest Walkway entrance on Jan. 6, they followed them to the Lower West Plaza. Video posted on Parler on Jan. 6 shows Gamble and Hart standing on a small staircase surveying the plaza as at least a half-dozen Proud Boys and known associates move in and out of a crowd massed against a line of Capitol police in riot gear.
At 1:10 p.m., Gamble can be seen speaking to a police officer at the top of the stairs as Hart uses a telescoping rod to obtain crowd footage. Gamble can also be seen using his GoPro camera to film the crowd. Meanwhile, a Proud Boy from southwest Florida named James Hoel can be seen coming up the staircase, eventually moving past Hart and Gamble, and speaking with the same officer.
It is unclear whether Gamble and Hoel — both residents of southwest Florida — knew each other at the time, but Hoel has subsequently become infamous as the Proud Boy who was elected alongside Michael Flynn to serve on the Sarasota County Republican Executive Committee.
Roughly around the same time that Hoel was speaking with the officer another man can be seen in the video and wedged himself between Hart and Gamble.
“What are you waiting for?” he yells, becoming increasingly incensed. “We already voted, and what have they done? They stole it. We want our f***ing country back.”
At the same time, Gamble can be seen speaking to Hart, and Hart soon turns towards the crowd on the plaza and starts motioning with his hand.
“Let’s go!” yells the man on the staircase and others. “Come on.”
“We gotta go lawfully, man,” and unidentified man can be heard arguing. “Legally and lawfully.”
But the video shows others prevailing over the man who counseled respect for the law. The video shows a handful of rioters, including Ronald Loehrke, a man who marched with the Proud Boys, pointing towards the scaffolding where the rioters had found a lightly guarded staircase. The rioters began pointing towards the staircase and yelling, “We gotta go,” within 20 seconds of Hart’s hand gesture. They would soon rush up the staircase, eventually allowing them to reach a window that Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola broke out with a stolen police riot shield.
Although there is no evidence Gamble went inside the Capitol, images captured by professional photographers and videographers show that he donned a gas mask and went up on the scaffolding.
Byrne told Raw Story that Gamble assisted the police on the Lower West Plaza and on a couple other occasions.
“They did not have enough men to cover an area they were trying to cover,” Byrne said. “He offered the policeman in front of them that if they wanted him to, he would step up and block this one space that they did not have blocked. They agreed to his cooperation, and he actually stood up at one point at the end of the police line for the police, making sure that no one could squeeze through this crack that was open on the side of the planter. The police thanked him.”
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