By Nate Thayer
June 6, 2017
For the last 26 months, I have been largely focused on investigating the broad and effectively unchecked secret police powers the U.S. government has been legally accorded in the years since the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.
Having veered off from a focus on foreign terrorist plots, the US “War on Terror” is now largely targeting U.S. citizens under the category of “Domestic Terrorists”.
These highly classified secret police dragnets are led by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, a conglomerate comprising more than 4000 agents from more than 600 local and state and 52 federal law enforcement agencies spread throughout the U.S. and supervised by 107 offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with a budget in excess of $3 billion. Their work is shrouded in a nearly impenetrable secrecy, citing “ongoing investigations” vital to “national security.”
Routinely, this vast secret police network violates basic constitutional freedoms protecting speech, political belief, assembly, search and seizure, due process, and the unhindered ability of a Free Press to pursue its vital function for Free People.
These are facts that are indisputable.
And this was underlined today when the excellent or subversive (depending on one’s view) legitimate news organization, the Intercept, came out with a story based on documents leaked from a National Security Agency contractor, who was arrested within hours.
“The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light,” wrote The Intercept.
As any credible news organization must do, prior to publishing their story based on documents, the Intercept alerted the National Security Agency to what they would publish and asked for comment.
“The NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were both contacted for this article. Officials requested that we not publish or report on the top secret document and declined to comment on it. When informed that we intended to go ahead with this story, the NSA requested a number of redactions. The Intercept agreed to some of the redaction requests after determining that the disclosure of that material was not clearly in the public interest,” wrote The Intercept.
Within hours, the NSA had determined that the classified documents could have only come from one of six people. One of the six, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a NSA contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, was arrested and accused of “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet,” according to U.S. Justice Department criminal complaints.
The May 5 NSA report detailed a Russian intelligence cyber attack on an US voting software supplier.
There are very sensible arguments to be made why classified material should not be leaked, but The Intercept article today is not one of them.
The body of work of Julian Assange, who is responsible for Wikileaks, offers a substantive argument for the legitimate dangers of publishing classified material. Many people have died because of his lazy and irresponsible mass data dump, which included names and easily verified sourcing of people who, also, were working in the interest of freedom and against government abuse.
The arrest today of people who only allowed that the front and center issue of Russian interference in U.S. elections, and the clearly legitimate, and in the public interest, of the current government in Washington’s involvement as possibly complicit, should give pause to anyone who is not in favor of government being in sole control of how, if, what kind of, and under what circumstances raw information is made available to the public so that citizens can decide for themselves whether the conduct of government serves their interests.
The Intercept is a news organization that focuses on national security, intelligence, and government surveillance and spying, and is micro focused on being the pre-eminent watchdog of whether and how and how much this is a good thing.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I count among my colleagues and friends several people who work for The Intercept, and I have accepted money from them before for my journalism work.)
But they also make me very nervous.
The, in my view, excellent Glenn Greenwald is their quarterback reporter and the man responsible for the release of Edward Snowdon’s cache of documents which allowed the harsh glare of public debate on the issue of what is now known to be ubiquitous spying by the U.S. government infiltrating the private affairs of U.S. and foreign citizens in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, and prompted an ongoing national debate of whether this is a good thing.
Yes, leaking secret documents is against the rules. But it is also the bread and butter of investigative journalism and in the public interest.
Which brings me to my junior varsity, real life example of how these kind of things affect the media and, therefore, the consumers of a free press.
The below story is also based on secret, classified U.S. government documents, which are, technically, illegal for me to be in possession of.
Technically, I could be arrested for publishing them. I could be ordered by a court to disclose how I came into possession of them, and who provided me them, and if I refused, imprisoned.
There are many American citizens who have been jailed on exaggerated, manipulated, or simply false criminal charges as a result of broad secret police powers and are now in prison–and are innocent.
Many are hard-working citizens with no history of criminal activity whose lives and families have been torn apart in the process. Most are working class or poor and do not have the resources to fight back.
In order to target American citizens—who have no connection to foreign terrorists or Jihadist inspired terror plots—more often than not the FBI JTTF recruits confidential informants whose credibility is poisoned by their personal biographies. Many of these informants have long documented histories of mental illness and extensive criminal records. It is routine that these informants are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each by the federal government—often in lump sums only after achieving favorable court convictions, providing an incentive to concoct false accusations which have resulted in the imprisonment of innocent American citizens.
The collateral damage is often the families of the accused. To fight back against the huge machinery of government costs an extraordinary amount of money. Many have lost their houses, their families irreparably ripped apart by divorce, their pensions handed over to lawyers, the main breadwinner imprisoned for sometimes years before trial, and others fired from their jobs by association.
It also is not unusual that the informants and their families are taken into “protective custody” or provided special favorable intervention to keep them from talking until a court verdict is obtained.
Below is one profile of, in my view, a true American hero who has spent years trying to fight back, confused what has happened to his family, and angered by being lied to and stonewalled by government agencies who took his children and grandchildren in the middle of the night and have held them at secret FBI safe houses, forbidding them from contacting their families for years.
“A few months ago, they were allowed to let her momma see the grand babies and they met in a food court playground. My daughter said: ‘Who is Nate Thayer? The FBI told us that he was connected to the Ku Klux Klan and my parents’,” said the father of the wife of a FBI JTTF informant who was whisked off in the middle of the night more than two years ago with her two school age children.
The children, including a then eight and now ten year-old, have been forbidden to attend school ever since, a clear violation of state laws.
How did the FBI know I have been researching this story?
Likely a number of ways, but one is the legal use of electronic surveillance of all communication devices. Commonly used, legal government spy devices are called “pen registers” and “trap and trace devices.” Pen register and “Trap and Trace” devices allow the US government to intercept all incoming and outgoing communications from a targeted individual. That means anyone who calls the phone number of a suspect has his or her phone number recorded by the FBI.
The truth is that the FBI knows I know far more than they want me to of the facts of the below FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation that has targeted dozens of Americans—some who have been imprisoned for years now– and other cases, and they fear that means the public will also know what I have learned after hundreds of days and many more hours of research.
They are right.
As a journalist, it is my job to call people who are involved in stories that are of legitimate interest to the larger common good to obtain factual, first-hand, credible information from all parties to form an unbiased news story.
This is from a court approved pen register relating to one case I have been intensively investigating. The telephone number is one approved to be monitored at the request of the FBI and that I have called dozens of times. I recently obtained classified FBI documents showing it has been under FBI court approved surveillance for more than two years. “An Attorney of the U.S. government requests an order that authorizes the installation and use of electronic computerized data collection device (pen register) to register numbers dialed or pulsed from mobile telephone number XXX-XXX-XXXX, or any number to which said telephone number is subsequently changed, to record the date and time such pulsing or recordings, to record the length of time the mobile telephone receiver in question is off the hook for incoming or outgoing calls, and to record whether the subject calls are to or from a mobile or land-based phone for a period of sixty days” reads the “pen register” warrant to a United States federal judge, which was approved. It continues“…that agents of the FBI may install and use a trap and trace device, that is, a caller ID device, to register numbers within the geographical limitations of the United States….it is further ordered…that Verizon Wireless shall furnish agents of the FBI forthwith all information, facilities, and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation of the electronic computerized data collection device (pen register) and trap and trace device, that is, a caller ID device, unobtrusively and with minimum interference with the services that are accorded persons with respect to whom the installation and use is to take place….and that Verizon Wireless be compensated for all reasonable expenses incurred in providing technical assistance…and that Verizon Wireless not disclose the existence of the electronic computerized data collection device (pen register)…or the existence of the investigation to the listed subscriber, or to any other person…”
Practically, that means that US federal government secret police agencies can legally see that a certain telephone number (in this case mine) has made dozens of calls to the numbers they are monitoring. Of course they will then do their due diligence and find out who owns this number and investigate who that is–even though that is strictly against the law.
Even a FBI undercover informant, currently under FBI “protective custody” who broke every FBI informant rule in the book to call me from his FBI supplied and paid for ‘burner phone’ several times from his secret FBI paid for safe house, agreed. How did he know my name and number? “It was the FBI who first told me your name. They asked ‘Do you know Nate Thayer? Have you ever met or talked to him? We believe he is working with the Ku Klux Klan’,” he told me. “So I looked you up and saw that you have done serious work on these issues.”
This particular informant is Joseph Veryl Moore, profiled in the story below.
He is currently under FBI protective custody because the FBI alleges he has credible death threats against him on the orders of the Ku Klux Klan. But even Joseph Moore says that is bullocks. “I do not agree with the FBI or think the Klan has issued any bounty on my head,’ he told me.
Then he said: “No. I don’t care if I piss off the FBI,” when asked whether he was told or authorized or was recording the telephone call he made to me on from the US government supplied “burner phone”. “My children need to be in school. I need to see a doctor. My wife needs to see doctors.”
I attempted to contact the FBI JTTF “handler” and case agent of undercover informant Moore and was told: “If you publish this story, you better have a good fucking lawyer.”
Another man arrested by the FBI JTTF, then facing 15 years in prison on gun charges (and currently serving seven years in a federal penitentiary), was taken from his pre-trial prison cell while under federal custody, while still very vulnerable hoping for a reduced sentence, and interrogated.
The FBI agents grilled him: “Do you know someone who says he is a journalist, Nate Thayer? Have you ever met him? Have you ever talked to him? Has your wife ever talked to him?” they asked the federal prisoner who was seeking support for a plea deal.
It is against every conceivable law and FBI internal guideline to attempt to prevent or intimidate the Free Press from performing their vital duties as enshrined in the constitution.
But this is how it works in the real world: If you give government, police, or intelligence agencies the legal rope to use these powers, they will abuse them. When governments can use unsupervised police powers, largely free from oversight, to intimidate a legitimate free press from performing their constitutionally protected duties to provide independent information of importance to the citizenry, it is a threat to the freedoms of every citizen.
So here goes. And stay tuned. The below is only a small portion of the results of a two-year investigation during which I obtained thousands of pages of classified FBI and other government documents and interviewed more than a 100 people from all sides of the issue.
The Case of American Hero William “Rusty” Seaton and His Battle with the FBI
By Nate Thayer
June 6, 2017
In December 2014, the FBI received a hot tip: the Ku Klux Klan had asked a FBI undercover informant to kill a black man. Soon after, three Klansmen were arrested for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
In April 2017, after 25 months in jail, Thomas Jordan Driver’s mother told him prosecutors had offered him a deal of 4 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty. “But, Momma! I didn’t do anything!” the 24 year-old said.
Faced with spending the next 30 years in prison and up against the full resources of the FBI to make that happen, Driver plead guilty to a murder conspiracy evidence suggests he not only did not commit, but didn’t exist.
Classified FBI documents, interviews, and sealed court testimony suggest Driver and his two co-defendants were framed by the FBI using a severely mentally ill undercover informant the FBI paid more than $100,000 for information they knew was false, classified FBI documents show.
It was not the first extremist political group Joseph Veryl Moore infiltrated working for the FBI. And it was not the first time Moore told the FBI he was asked to murder someone.
In 2008, the FBI infiltrated Moore into another Florida far right-wing group, and within weeks he told his FBI handlers that they, too, had requested Moore assassinate someone: this time a Hispanic truck driver who had plowed into a school bus, killing a 13 year-old white girl. That alleged murder plot didn’t happen either, according to the FBI itself.
Moore claims to have been solicited to commit, been the target of, has committed, intervened to stop, or been informed of at least 18 separate murders plots. 17 of these alleged murder schemes, evidence suggests, were the fantasies of the delusional mind of Joseph Moore.
Moore has also claimed to have single-handedly wrestled a shark stalking swimmers off a Florida beach, personally arrested a pedophile attempting to abduct a child, fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden while serving as an elite U.S. army Special Forces trained sniper, and worked as a secret undercover drug agent in “the Pacific region.”
After hiding a FBI recording device in his son’s diaper bag in 2010, Moore filed a police complaint accusing his mother-in-law of sexually abusing her infant grandson, according to Alachua County Florida police and FBI documents. Another time, Moore placed cameras in trees on his family property to detect people he said were out to kill him and then he lay prone on the front lawn armed with a scoped semi-automatic AR-15 rifle aimed at people who did not exist, according to law enforcement documents and Moore’s family.
Joseph Moore is “delusional” according to local Florida law enforcement agency documents in 2010 and 2015; “mentally unstable” according to the FBI itself in 2010; “a compulsive liar” according to an ex-wife in 2015; “paranoid” according to his current wife in sealed under oath court testimony from 2016; and “bat shit crazy” according to his father-in-law in 2017.
“Joe Moore is my ex-husband. He is phobic, has mental issues, and been in state hospitals a number of times,” said his ex-wife, who asked her name not be used “because I am afraid Joe might hurt my family.”
“I can say this–anything he claims is not plausible,” she said.
Moore was diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses in 2002, according to New Jersey maximum-security psychiatric hospital medical records and FBI classified documents.
Primary symptoms of schizophrenia are hearing things that are not said, seeing things that are not there, and believing events are happening that are not.
Joseph Moore would appear to be a poster child of who not to recruit as an undercover spy for the U.S. government battling “the War on Terrorism.”
But despite the FBI knowing Moore was insane, they hired him anyways and continue to pay him thousands of dollars a month to live in a FBI safe house, all expenses paid and equipped with a swimming pool.
Despite Moore having been committed multiple times to mental health facilities while working for the FBI in the years since they first recruited him in 2007, they continue to use Moore to spy on and prosecute U.S. citizens in the FBI led “War on Domestic Terrorism.”
A cache of thousands of pages of secret FBI documents, sealed court ordered depositions of FBI agents, internal Ku Klux Klan documents, exclusive interviews with Moore from his FBI safe house, and interviews with more than 100 of his family, associates, Ku Klux Klan members, a dozen retired career FBI agents, other law enforcement officials, and others connected to “domestic terrorism” investigations suggest the FBI has been knowingly concocting murder plots and other fantastical alleged “terrorist” schemes based on informants such as Moore’s uncorroborated information in the government’s ‘War on Terrorism’ for more than a decade.
THE FBI AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS
FBI informant Joseph Moore and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Jacksonville, Florida are not an isolated example of a rogue undercover informant and a few bad cops who have broken the rules, according to sealed court documents, classified FBI records, and more than a dozen former FBI counter terrorism agents.
Joseph Moore’s deployment as a frontline soldier in the “War on Terrorism” represents a systemic problem of a dysfunctional FBI JTTF that often relies on not credible confidential informants, according to experts.
“It is outrageous government conduct. Long time agents like myself hear about the bureau using these unreliable CI’s all the time and say ‘Are you crazy?’ J. Edgar Hoover is rolling in his grave right now,” said James Wedick, a 35-year career FBI special agent who once headed the corruption unit at Washington headquarters. “Everybody saw those buildings come down on 9/11, and there has been a period of over exuberance ever since.”
In the case of Joseph Moore, more than twenty senior FBI officials in the FBI chain of command, from the Jacksonville FBI field office to the FBI Counter Terrorism Division, the Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit, the Directorate of Intelligence, and the National Security Division at FBI headquarters, vetted Moore’s reports and approved in writing Moore’s suitability to work as a FBI Confidential Human Source over the past decade.
Further, senior FBI supervisory agents both in the Jacksonville field office and at FBI headquarters in Washington signed approvals for numerous “assessments”, “preliminary investigations”, and “full investigations” against Americans for “domestic terrorism”, telephone wiretaps and covert recordings of U.S. citizens based on the uncorroborated, implausible lies and delusions of a mentally disturbed con man who they knew had provided them false information for years, according to classified FBI documents.
THE WALTER MITTY LIFE OF JOE MOORE
In 2001, Moore was found living in his car after going AWOL from the U.S. army while deployed to a storefront army recruiting office in a strip mall in suburban Los Angeles. His military career abruptly ended then.
He has been under court ordered psychiatric care and prescribed powerful mood altering medicine to treat his mental illness ever since.
In 2002, a heavily armed Moore was arrested stalking “with bad intentions” perceived drug dealers near housing projects in Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to New Jersey police records and classified FBI documents, and charged with “felony possession of a prohibited firearm.”
At 2:30 am on that Thanksgiving Day morning, Moore walked into an Atlantic City hospital emergency room wearing a “level six” military grade flak jacket with the serial numbers scraped off, equipped with automatic weapons paraphernalia, a myriad of James Bond spy toys, and in possession of a valid passport and a paid one-way plane ticket from New York City to Jordan departing the following day. He told hospital staff and cops that he was on a secret U.S. government assignment to “assassinate Osama bin Laden.”
Moore was arrested and promptly “involuntarily committed” into a maximum-security psychiatric hospital by a New Jersey judge.
Moore’s March 12, 2003 discharge document from the Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, obtained in this investigation, show doctors diagnosed Moore as suffering from schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses. They also said “his suicidal ideation included the potential plan of obtaining a gun and shooting himself in the head.”
Moore told doctors “he was specifically trained as a sniper for a recon unit from 10/1995 to 10/1999, he worked as a scout sniper for an elite unit in conflict areas of the Pacific Region from October 1999 through January 2002, (and) he stated that he was an undercover agent working to review a complex drug operation in Hawaii,” reads the medical report from the New Jersey state maximum security hospital. “His earlier plan to join the militia group in the Middle East appeared ‘less bizarre’ in light of his military training, work experience and current explanation.”
But none of that is true. Moore lied to the doctors.
Since his release from the New Jersey hospital, Moore claims he is a disabled U.S. Army elite Special Forces sniper and wounded combat veteran suffering from PTSD who was decorated for valor with a purple heart, bronze star and silver star for his battlefield heroics during tours in Afghanistan and Iraq —medals he has regularly worn pinned to his hat in public. Joseph Moore claims he has been deployed as a secret U.S. government assassin sent on missions abroad to kill America’s enemies since his discharge from the army in 2002.
None of this is true either, according to Joseph Moore’s official U.S. government military service records and confidential FBI documents in Moore’s FBI informant file.
He made it all up.
Moore never left the United States during an honorable but unremarkable six-year U.S. army career served entirely stateside which was interrupted by mental illness.
He was deployed to a storefront Army recruiting station in a strip mall near Los Angeles when he was abruptly discharged after going AWOL in 2001 during a mental health crisis, facing criminal charges, and found living in his car, according to family members.
The FBI knew all this, but in 2007 they hired Joseph Moore as a front line soldier in their “War on Domestic Terrorism” anyways.
Confidential FBI documents assessing Moore’s “suitability” to be a paid undercover informant show the FBI had reviewed Moore’s medical and official military records, and in 2007 began infiltrating him into right-wing political extremist groups and launching spying campaigns against American citizens designated as political enemies.
Moore’s mental health problems did not go away after he became a FBI undercover Confidential Human Source in 2007–they intensified to acute levels with Moore committed to psychiatric facilities multiple times in the decade since while he simultaneously worked for the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force building cases against alleged “domestic terrorists.”
And then the FBI helped Moore illegally acquire guns.
Within weeks of hiring Moore as a paid undercover operative, the FBI handed Moore $700 in cash and sent him to purchase a firearm from a suspected right-wing extremist in Ocala, Florida, according to sealed court depositions of FBI agents and Joseph Moore.
“Source provided SA Armstrong copies of 2002 arrest by local authorities in New Jersey for possession of a silencer… although there was a place on the form for the Judge to order the source to forfeit all of his weapons, the block was unchecked. The source was advised that he was never told that it would be illegal for him to possess a firearm,” wrote Special Agent Joseph Armstrong, Moore’s case agent who headed the FBI satellite office in Gainesville, Florida, in a December 2007 memo to his Jacksonville, Florida FBI superiors. “He was not then, nor has he ever been convicted of a felony that would prohibit him from possessing firearms.”
Within months of starting work for the FBI, Moore spiraled into another acute mental health crisis.
“Sometime in 2008,” according to Moore in an August 2016 court sealed deposition, he was designated 100% disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and granted full “service related disability” for PTSD he claims he suffers from, although he was never in combat nor ever deployed outside of the United States.
After the U.S. Veterans Administration deemed him sufficiently mentally ill to render him unable to work in 2008, Moore was deployed by the FBI to infiltrate another U.S. “Domestic Terrorist” organization, according to Moore’s family, FBI documents, the U.S Attorney Office of the northern district of Florida, the Florida State Prosecutors Office, and Moore himself.
And then, after the VA determined Moore 100% incapacitated because of his mental illness in 2008, the FBI facilitated Moore illegally obtaining a Florida Concealed Carry Firearms license in February 2009.
“I was working for the FBI prior to applying for the concealed weapons permit,” Moore said in a confidential, sealed court deposition last year obtained by this reporter. When asked, “Did your handler at the time instruct you to get a Florida concealed weapons permit?” Moore answered “They looked into my record and had conversations with me and said that I was eligible.”
But both federal and Florida law clearly state it is illegal for Moore to own a firearm and a concealed carry firearms permit will be denied if an applicant has been “committed to a mental institution.”
So Joe Moore lied on his application for the CCW in Florida, saying he had never been committed to a mental institution, and the FBI encouraged him to use his new license to carry a gun wherever he went on assignment as an undercover informant to enhance his street cred with right-wing extremists he was tasked to infiltrate.
THE IN LAWS
None of this is news to people who knew Moore when he began working as a paid informant for the FBI.
Shortly after marrying her daughter, Joseph Moore crossed a red line no son-in-law in his right mind would do–he seriously pissed off his mother-in-law.
In a restraining order request filed with the Alachua County Florida Sheriff’s Office while Moore was working as a paid informant for the FBI, Moore’s mother-in-law Sharon Seaton wrote that she feared for her life.
Moore told her “when he was in the army as a sniper that he accidentally shot and killed the wrong man and there are people out to get him so he claims to have planted cameras in our trees in the yard and that the FBI are on his side,” reads the police document. Sharon Seaton said Moore “stays up all night claiming the people he has killed are coming to get him. Joseph was recently admitted to the VA hospital in Gainesville and has also been seeing a doctor in Lake City (Florida and) admitted into the psych ward. I am afraid for myself, my daughter, being Sharon A Moore and in fear for my grandson Joseph Lee Jordan Moore.”
For Moore’s father-in-law, William ‘Rusty’ Seaton, Moore is the son-in-law from Hell. And Seaton does not like the FBI much more than he likes Joe Moore.
For a decade, the Seaton’s have launched a personal Jihad against the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for the destruction wrought on their working class family in rural central Florida by the FBI’s “war on domestic terrorism.”
It might be difficult to believe Rusty Seaton, a U.S. army veteran, is against the war on terrorism, but he is as it has played out in his life.
“Fuck the FBI. I don’t give a damn about the Ku Klux Klan, Joe Moore, or the FBI. I lost a daughter, a granddaughter, and a grandson because of Joe Moore and the FBI. And the FBI paid for it all. I want my grand babies back home. This is not American. It is just by God wrong”
In April 2015, the FBI whisked the Seaton’s daughter and two young grand children to a secret FBI paid for safe house and the Seaton’s have been cut off from contact with their grandchildren and daughter ever since.
Rusty Seaton, 53, operates Rusty’s Towing, in Alachua County, Florida, and is a big fan of Donald Trump, hunting, Jesus Christ, and machines with loud engines. Seaton has two Confederate flags flying on either end of his house and an American flag in his front yard.
“I am just a simple redneck. Anybody is welcome in my house, but I tell them there is a gun behind the front door and another under the chair in the living room. I love God, my country, guns, my family and my wife,” Seaton said. “But Joe Moore is a sick son-of-a-bitch and the FBI is protecting him and stole my grand babies and I want the world to know.”
In 2010, while Moore was descending into yet another mental health crisis—one of many that Moore has suffered while on the payroll of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force– the FBI JTTF began to have a problem they could not hide behind the veil of secrecy that allows the U.S. government unprecedented secret police powers to target American citizens in the ’War on Domestic Terrorism’; they could not intimidate Rusty and Sharon Seaton into shutting up.
In January 2010, Moore illegally placed recording equipment, provided to him by the FBI to monitor “domestic terrorists”, in his infant son’s diaper bag while his in-laws were babysitting their grand child and then filed a police complaint that his mother-in-law was sexually abusing her infant grandson, according to Joseph Moore, the Seaton’s, local Florida law enforcement, the Florida Department of Child and Family Services, and FBI documents.
Moore heard things on the recordings that were not being said and filed criminal complaints for “Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a Child Under 12” against his mother-in-law for sexually assaulting her one-year old grandson. Moore’s handwritten complaint to the Alachua County Florida Sheriff’s Office identified him as an employee of the U.S. Department of Justice—the parent agency of the FBI.
Investigations by three Florida law enforcement agencies quickly determined the allegations were false and the work of a “delusional” man, and they refused to pursue criminal charges, according to official police documents of the incident.
In the complaint, Moore wrote: “I placed a recording device in my son’s diaper bag. When my son returned home, I listened to the recording. I then called the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. On the recording I heard the Grandmother say ‘Neena’s got your balls’. She repeated this. She then said ‘Neena’s got your dick.’ She repeated this.”
“Neena” was the infant grandson’s nickname for Moore’s mother-in-law, Sharon Seaton.
The Seaton’s explained to police, who arrived at their home at 1:42 in the morning according to police reports, that the references on the recording were to an orange ball (not ‘balls’) and a stick (not ‘dick’) they gave their grandchild to distract him when they were changing his diapers. The police were invited into the Seaton’s home and “observed an orange tennis ball and stick in their living room”, according to police documents.
Joseph Moore believed he saw and heard things that were not actually happening, according to the Florida law enforcement documents.
“He told the Alachua Police Department, ‘I am Special Agent Joseph Moore with the FBI’,” recalled Rusty Seaton. “He had told us many times he worked for the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
By now, Rusty and Sharon Seaton had more than enough of both their son-in-law and the FBI.
The next day, they went to the FBI office in Gainesville, Florida and demanded to speak to someone from who had authority over Moore. “The secretary told us ‘there is no one available to talk to you’,” said Rusty Seaton. “I told her ‘we are not leaving here until we meet with someone from the FBI’.” And then they sat in a windowless waiting room and refused to leave.
Eventually, Moore’s FBI handler, FBI Special Agent Joseph Armstrong, came out from behind locked doors and met with the Seaton’s and listened. The Seaton’s detailed how Moore was severely mentally ill and had illegally recorded conversations using FBI supplied equipment and filed false criminal allegations with law enforcement against them while representing himself as employed by and under the protection of the FBI JTTF.
Armstrong, who headed the FBI Jacksonville Florida field office satellite division in Gainesville, lied to the Seaton’s and told them that Moore did not work for them.
“At no point in time were the Seaton’s told that Moore was a confidential human source for the FBI. They were told he was not employed by the FBI,” wrote Armstrong to his FBI superiors in a confidential document dated January 28, 2010, two days after the Seaton’s showed up at the FBI office in Gainesville.
But Armstrong wrote to the Jacksonville FBI field office that he immediately dispatched agents to meet with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy investigating Moore’s complaint against his in-laws. “Moore told him that he was employed in an unspecified capacity by the Department of Justice,” Armstrong wrote. The Sheriff’s deputy told the FBI “that when he asked Moore if he could make him a copy of the recording, he produced a cassette tape recorder that he claimed was government property and made a copy of the recording with it. Given the above, it is clear that the CHS did not abide by his admonishment that he has been given to maintain the confidentiality of his relationship with the FBI.”
As a result, in 2010 the FBI decided to “terminate for cause” Moore as a paid FBI confidential informant, citing he was “mentally unstable” and had violated written agreements with the Bureau never to disclose his secret employment.
“It is SA Armstrong’s intention to meet with the CHS as soon as possible to terminate his relationship with the FBI. Such action will be appropriately documented” in Moore’s FBI informant file, reads one January 2010 FBI internal document.
“This source may not be mentally stable. You therefore probably do not want to consider him as a witness in your case,” reads another document from Armstrong sent to United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Florida federal prosecutors pursuing criminal “domestic terrorism” cases based on Moore’s evidence.
JOSEPH MOORE REHIRED
But soon after the FBI says they “terminated” Moore “for cause” in 2010, the same Jacksonville, Florida FBI field office “reactivated” Moore and infiltrated him into other U.S. extremist groups.
FBI internal regulations for handling confidential informants state “an FBI Agent shall not initiate contact with or respond to contacts from a former Confidential Human Source who has been closed for cause,” according to the classified 2015 “Confidential Human Source Policy Guide” issued by the FBI Directorate of Intelligence to all FBI agents. “In order to re-open a CHS who has been previously closed” the agents must “include an explanation of the reason the CHS was previously closed.”
Internal FBI oversight bodies include a “Human Source Review Committee” based at FBI HQ in Washington, and a “Confidential Human Source Coordinator” assigned to every one of the 107 FBI field offices throughout the United States. Their mandate is to ensure that all FBI JTTF agents strictly vet Confidential Human Sources and assure they abide by internal FBI guidelines and rules of conduct.
Since they “reactivated Moore in 2013, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has used Moore’s uncorroborated information to launch more than a dozen highly secretive “domestic terrorism” investigations targeting U.S. citizens with no criminal history or previous involvement with “threats to national security” or “domestic terrorist” plots.
These investigations have been personally approved and signed off by senior FBI management officials up the chain of command in the FBI Jacksonville field office all the way to FBI headquarters in Washington, D. C., according to confidential FBI internal documents.
“This represents a massive breakdown of the internal FBI management system of CI’s,” said David Gomez, a retired FBI Special Agent in Charge of the bureau’s Portland, Oregon field office. “The Informant Unit at FBI headquarters is supposed to prevent these sort of rehires. That the CHS was rehired demonstrates an institutional breakdown and failure of the vetting system for confidential informants.”
Since Moore was “reactivated”, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has ignored or manipulated information supplied by Moore they knew to be false, and exaggerating, censoring, and cherry-picking evidence they then selectively provided federal and state prosecutors, who then filed criminal cases against members of U.S. right-wing political groups.
After spending millions of dollars on these criminal investigations over a period of at least a decade, involving more than 20 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the United States Attorney’s Office has not successfully prosecuted a single “domestic terrorism” case against anyone based on Moore’s reporting.
Joseph Moore’s work for the federal government is not an anomaly for undercover confidential informants used in the “War on Terrorism” since the September 11, 2011 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, say experts. “This is an extreme example of a systemic problem. The use of demonstrably, chronically unreliable informants by the FBI who willfully ignore contradictory information is systemic,” said Alexandra Natopoff, a professor of law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles who has written extensively on the use of confidential informants for over a decade.
“If what you are saying is true, it is an example of a management failure,” said Michael German, a former FBI special agent who worked undercover infiltrating white supremacist groups and is now with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.
German and the other former FBI agents interviewed for this article had no involvement in or specific knowledge of the facts of the case of Joseph Moore, but were speaking from long collective knowledge of how the FBI internal guidelines are designed to work–and sometimes don’t.
“It is extreme negligence for a FBI special agent not to know what is an a CI’s file. But he or she also has a supervisor who is directly responsible for ensuring the CI is properly vetted. In addition, every FBI field office has a CHS Coordinator whose entire job it is to ensure FBI guidelines on using a CI are adhered to,” German said in one phone interview. “And if this CI was previously thrown out of the program, terminated for cause, there is a much higher level of FBI scrutiny that requires approval from Washington FBI headquarters. This represents a total breakdown of the FBI management system of confidential informants.”
“Having said that, confidential informants are not only a current problem. They have been an institutional problem for years,” added German. “The real problem is the FBI has largely not implemented recommendations or abided by their own guidelines. The system is broken.”
In numerous “domestic terrorism” cases throughout the U.S. pursued by the FBI JTTF and hundreds of federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, U.S. federal law enforcement agencies have abused the broad, poorly supervised secret police powers granted to the federal government a decade ago.
After 9/11, new surveillance powers were promulgated to stop foreign terrorist assaults on U.S. soil, but since then these covert police powers have shifted, and are now widely used to target American citizens, many who have appear not to have engaged in any criminal activity and appear to be exercising their constitutionally protected first amendment rights.
Accurate statistics are difficult to come by—the FBI itself says it has no idea what its own budget is for the Joint Terrorism Task Force–but managing the greatly expanded JTTF is a significant focus of the FBI’s overall mission. 2008 estimates of how many confidential informants are used by the FBI in the U.S. cite figures of 15,000, according to congressional testimony.
“Seventy-one of the 106 JTTF’s currently operated by the DoJ and the FBI were created since 9/11. Over 4400 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and agents—more than four times the pre-9/11 total—work in them,” according to the FBI in 2009. The Bureau said “more than 600 state and local agencies, and 50 federal agencies” now comprise the FBI JTTF.
A central concern is the ubiquitous use by the FBI JTTF of undercover confidential informants in the “War on Terrorism”, many of whose credibility is highly suspect. Civil liberties groups point to numerous cases where the credibility of FBI JTTF informants has been seriously compromised.
James Wedick, a 30-year career FBI agent who headed the FBI corruption unit in Washington before retiring, phrased the issue in stark terms. “Confidential informants are probably the most dangerous people on the planet and the number one threat to America. They are a much-needed resource, but the danger is if they are not monitored 24/7, they are trouble and a threat to every American. What it comes down to is how the federal superstructure makes sure the constitution and public are protected.”
In March 2011, Moore was arrested on felony charges of “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon” for walking into a Jiffy Lube and brandishing his Glock 45 handgun in a confrontation with the husband of a co-worker of his wife.
The state of Florida suspended his concealed carry weapons license, but the charges were dropped, his weapons permit reinstated, and all court records were retroactively sealed on October 10, 2013–the same day that the FBI infiltrated Joseph Moore into another political group, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
“On October 15, 2013, SA Lindsay Campbell and TFO Richard Vaughn met with CHS (Confidential Human Source, Moore), who has provided reliable intelligence in the past. At that time, CHS provided the following information: CHS advised the TKKKK wants the CHS in the knight hawk position because the CHS has a concealed weapons permit, has prior combat experience, has a clean background, and is physically fit to carry out tasks for the TKKKK,” reads a classified FBI internal document dated October 22, 2013, signed by Moore’s then two FBI JTTF co-case agents and sent to their FBI supervisors.
“Are you aware that he’s got a valid concealed weapons permit?” Campbell was asked in a sealed court deposition in January 2016. “Yes,” she answered.
Q: Given his mental health history, wouldn’t he be disqualified?
A: If he, in fact, had a mental health disorder, to my knowledge, he would be disqualified and would never have been able to obtain that permit.
Q: So did you consider that he lied in order to get the permit?
A: No, I did not. It is my understanding, through other law enforcement officers, that there would be some record of that in the NCIC, which would flag him for not being able to get a concealed permit.”
What Campbell failed to mention is that the FBI intervened to retroactively scrub clean Joseph Moore’s criminal history from public records so they do not show up in background checks.
And she failed to mention Moore did lie to obtain the license to carry a handgun in public—and she and the FBI knew it.
Moore has woven a complex fake narrative of his life to most all who have crossed his path for years, providing false information to multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI while working as their paid informant.
The FBI has been on the front lines against terror plots targeting the United States for decades. They have helped shut down several international plots, and they and others are correct that evidence shows domestic extremist malcontents pose a greater statistical threat to Americans than Al Qaeda and ISIS put together.
But the FBI targeting of U.S. citizens that hold extremist, widely unpopular views without evidence of any involvement in criminal activity is not new since the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center bombing—it bears a stark resemblance to a revival of the FBI COINTELPRO program shuttered during the scandals of FBI illegal activity made public and outlawed in the 1970’s.
In reality, the Ku Klux Klan, militia groups, and their cousins are a largely white supremacist refuge for lost boys with Internet connections who have nothing like the clout of mid 20th century rural America, when judges, police, and aldermen donned robes.
What’s most concerning, though, is that the FBI—stoked with a secret and unsupervised multi-billion dollar budget– is using these sort of lost boys to manufacture domestic terror threats which don’t appear to exist, and shut down constitutionally protected U.S. political fringe groups when there is no evidence of criminal or illegal activity.
When the FBI JTTF re-hired Moore in 2013, they directed Moore to go online and Google White Supremacist organizations, based solely on their political beliefs, and choose which one he wanted to infiltrate. Moore’s FBI JTTF co-case agent and official ‘handler’ Lindsay Campbell said there was “not specifically” any group that the FBI JTTF was targeting when the JTTF re-activated Moore in 2013. “In 2013 he did some general work on the internet. We will have sources look for, you know, websites, chat rooms, Facebook that seem on the extreme side. You know, we are always very cautious on the First Amendment. Everyone has their own rights, but if there is something that brings concern or an organization that is known to be more extreme, that is something that the source would be reporting on,” Campbell said in a sealed court deposition in early 2016.
“This is an extreme example of a systemic problem. The use of demonstrably, chronically unreliable informants by the FBI who willfully ignore contradictory information is systemic,” said Alexandra Natopoff, a professor of law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles who has written extensively on the use of confidential informants for over a decade.
A decade after Joseph Moore was hired as a paid undercover agent for the FBI JTTF, and 7 years after he was “terminated for cause”, both of his direct FBI JTTF case agents claim they knew nothing about Moore’s deceit or his medical history when they “reactivated” him as their paid confidential informant.
When asked in 2015 if he had reviewed Moore’s history “prior to utilizing him in this case” and rehiring him as his confidential informant, FBI Joint Task Force Officer Richard Vaughn said “No Sir”, and then appears to try to shift the focus away from himself to his FBI superiors. “Being a task force officer, I’m not privy on how FBI sources are vetted, paperwork-wise, what the proper checks are, things of that nature,” adding ”the case agent for the FBI would be responsible for going through the FBI’s source vetting and utilization procedures.”
“You took them at their word then?” Vaughn was asked in reference to his FBI superiors. “Yes, sir,” Vaughn replied.
“You didn’t independently vet it?” asked a lawyer. “No sir. And if I independently vetted it, it would possibly violate some sort of (FBI JTTF) policy.”
In 2016, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Officer Richard Vaughn was questioned again about the informant for whom he was both the primary handler and FBI JTTF official co-case agent:
Q: Are you aware that he suffers from Schizophrenia
A: Not Schizophrenia, no, sir
Q: Did you look into that?
A: I can’t look into something I am not aware of
Q: So you are not aware of it at all?
But in telephone interviews initiated by Joseph Moore after he went into FBI ‘protective custody’ in 2015, Moore said “I became an informant for the FBI JTTF in 2008. My handler is Rich Vaughn, a Task Force Officer with the FBI JTTF.” Moore said “Vaughn approached me in 2007 and said ‘How are you with rednecks?’ They checked me out, vetted me, and checked on my credibility. I was part of the Cointelpro program.”
In a January 16, 2016 court sealed deposition, Moore’s FBI case agent, FBI Special Agent Lindsay Campbell, testified that she never had looked into Moore’s background before rehiring him as her informant and appears to try to shift responsibility to her FBI JTTF co-case agent, Richard Vaughn.
“He was the one who came to me about approaching the source to reactivate with us,” said Campbell.
Q: When did you first become acquainted with the source?
A: In April of 2013 through my co-case agent on this matter, Richard Vaughn. The source had been a confidential human source for the Bureau previously in Gainesville. So when Mr. Vaughn saw him he came back and approached me and said, ‘Hey, you know, this guy is pretty good, he has done some reporting for the FBI before. Is it somebody you might be interested in approaching to be a source again?’ We set up a meeting, just kind of talked casually about what he was up to currently, if he wanted to help us out, if he still had access to information, and it sort of rolled from there.
Q: So when you had that meeting you didn’t have any particular criminal enterprise that was being targeted?
A: No, sir.
Q: What information, if any, did Agent Vaughn give you regarding the source’s mental instabilities?
A: He did not say anything about that.
Q: Didn’t mention it at all to you?
Q: So when you began working with this source you were not aware of his psychiatric background?
A: Not until the source said something to us.
Q: Right. So basically you just took him at –the source at his word as to what he told you about his mental health history, right?
A: I guess you could say that.
Q: And, again, I am being a little redundant, but you didn’t independently verify that with any records?
A: Correct. We do not pull medical records on our sources.
Q: With all of this information regarding the source’s mental instability, why didn’t you ask him to sign a medical release and get his medical records?
A: I wasn’t concerned about the information that he provided us.
Q: Do you have any process when you reopen or re-utilize a confidential source?
A: I mean, we have an internal database that they are entered into, and the same checks are run that would have been run the first time through the database, the criminal history, etcetera.
“That is just bunk,” said retired FBI Special Agent Daniel Vogel, who worked terrorism cases running confidential informants while stationed in Los Angeles and Oklahoma during a twenty-year career. “Of course you look at their past records. You do your due diligence as a case officer handling your CI. It is your job to know. There is no way they did not look at his files as a former FBI CI. But more importantly, it is the special agents supervisor, the assistant special agent in charge of the field office, and the special agent in charge who have to sign off on hiring CI’s.”
FBI documents show that the bureau was fully aware of Moore’s mental health diagnosis when they first recruited him to infiltrate “domestic terrorism” groups in 2007, when they fired him in 2010, when they rehired him in 2013, and when they arrested, charged, and prosecuted U.S. citizens based on Moore’s uncorroborated information in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Those documents are in Joseph Moore’s FBI main file kept on all confidential informants.
In 2015 court criminal affidavits and 2016 sealed court testimony, FBI JTTF agents, federal prosecutors, and prosecutors from the Florida Office of the Attorney General have all testified that Moore’s information “is truthful and reliable”.
The FBI now describe Moore as a “FBI Confidential Source whose motivation for cooperation with the FBI is patriotism”; whose “information is believed to be truthful and reliable”; who “has no felony convictions and no convictions for crimes involving dishonesty”; and whose information has been “corroborated by other confidential informants”, according to 2015 FBI criminal affidavits submitted to Florida state and federal courts and signed by Moore’s case agent FBI Special Agent Lindsey Campbell of the Jacksonville, Florida FBI field office.
But all these assertions are untrue, FBI documents and sealed court testimony show.
In the 2016 court depositions of FBI Special Agent Lindsay Campbell admitted her earlier under oath statements and FBI criminal affidavits she signed and submitted to the court to obtain indictments, were not truthful. “There are no specific sources utilized in this investigation other than the source that we are talking about,” she testified.
Campbell added that she had given Moore tens of thousands in cash payments since 2013 in exchange for his information. But Campbell still insists in under oath court testimony she had never vetted Moore to determine his credibility and knew none of his personal, criminal, or psychiatric history when she ‘reactivated’ him as her confidential informant.
Campbell claims she did not know Moore suffers from mental illness causing delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, and other symptoms; that he had been arrested for aggravated assault with a weapon and resisting arrest in Florida, felony charges of possession of illegal weapons in New Jersey, and “forcible entry” and passing bad checks in California; that he has had court-restraining orders taken out against him by family members; and that he has been involuntarily and voluntarily committed to locked psychiatric facilities numerous times, including while working as a paid undercover informant for Campbell while she was building criminal cases against American citizens, some of whom have since been arrested and jailed on charges of being “domestic terrorists”.
But Campbell, and a vertical control process of a number of FBI supervisory officials are required to by strict FBI internal guidelines.
“If what you say is true, this represents a massive breakdown of the internal FBI management system of CI’s,” said the retired former FBI special agent David Gomez, and who has no first hand knowledge of this case. “The Informant Unit at FBI headquarters is supposed to prevent these sort of rehires. That the CHS was rehired demonstrates an institutional breakdown and failure of the vetting system for confidential informants.”
Since they “activated” Joseph Moore in 2007, FBI SA Joseph Armstrong, FBI SA Lindsay Campbell, her co-case agent FBI Task Force Officer Richard Vaughn, several of their “Supervising Special Agents, the Confidential Human Source Coordinator in the Jacksonville field office, the chief legal counsel in Jacksonville, several Assistant Special Agents in Charge and at least three Special Agents in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Florida field office, and more than a twenty senior FBI officials at Washington FBI headquarters have approved in writing using Moore’s uncorroborated information to launch secretive “domestic terrorism” investigations targeting dozens of U.S. citizens without credible information that criminal activity was taking place, probable cause, criminal history, or previous involvement with “threats to national security” or “domestic terrorist” plots.
These investigations have been personally approved and signed off by senior FBI management officials up the chain of command at FBI headquarters including the heads of the National Security Division and the Counter Intelligence Division in Washington, D. C., according to confidential FBI internal documents.
To rehire a Confidential Human Source after they have been terminated for cause requires a complex, ratcheted up set of even higher-level specific approvals from Washington FBI headquarters.
It is also clear the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has manipulated information supplied by Moore they know to be false–exaggerating, censoring, and cherry-picking evidence they then selectively provide federal and state prosecutors, who then have filed criminal cases against members of U.S. right-wing political groups.
After spending millions of dollars on these criminal investigations over the last decade involving more than 20 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the United States Attorney’s Office has not successfully brought to trial a single “domestic terrorism” case against anyone based on Moore’s reporting.
The FBI has left a trail of years of malfeasance, illegal activity, violations of internal FBI guidelines, violations of constitutionally protected rights of U.S. citizens, bureaucratic bumbling, lying under oath by the FBI in both federal and state courts, and creating criminal investigations, indictments, and arrests under “domestic terrorism” laws based on knowingly false information from not credible confidential informants who have been paid millions of dollars, according to several thousand pages of confidential FBI documents, internal documents of the Ku Klux Klan, court sealed testimony by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and their undercover informants, and other related documents and interviews.
THE FBI’S WORST NIGHTMARE
When the FBI took Rusty and Sharon Seaton’s grand babies away in the pre dawn hours of March 17, 2015, Joseph Moore’s in-laws became more than a problem for both him and the FBI: The Seaton’s have become their worst nightmare.
It was then that a team of agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force whisked Joseph Moore, Moore’s wife and the Seaton’s daughter Shannon, and the couple’s two young children in the middle of the night from their Alachua, Florida apartment and placed them in FBI secret safe houses where they have been held incommunicado in FBI “protective custody” ever since.
The Seaton’s have not seen their daughter or grandchildren in nearly two years and their numerous efforts to contact them have been thwarted by the FBI.
The FBI claims Joseph Moore has a $250,000 bounty on his head from the Ku Klux Klan.
In October 2015, Rusty Seaton went to the U.S. federal courthouse in Jacksonville to confront Special Agent Richard Vaughn, the FBI JTTF agent who has been Joseph Moore’s primary handler for more than a decade.
Vaughn testified in open court that day in the trial of Jamie Vincent Ward, the head of the Florida chapter of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK.
“When Vaughn was leaving the court room, I walked up to him and said ‘Hi. My name is Rusty Seaton.’ I swear he went about white,” said Seaton recalling his first meeting with the government agent who he blames for wreaking havoc on his family ever since his son-in-law began working as a FBI informant 7 years earlier.
“I told him ‘Fuck you and Joe. You two can go play cowboys and Indians, but I want my daughter back’,” Seaton said in one of dozens of interviews while he has fruitlessly tried to locate his missing grandchildren.
“Vaughn said the reason why Joe was not in court was because of death threats made against him by the TAK,” said Seaton. “That is bullshit. The reason he isn’t in court is the FBI doesn’t want anybody to know that their main guy is flat-out by God nuts.”
The above is only a small sneak peek into a real story of how government surveillance and spying by law enforcement and intelligence agencies can ruin the lives of people who have done nothing wrong.
Stay tuned for more….