Political News

Alleged Oath Keeper charged in Capitol riot says he once worked for FBI and holds security clearance

Posted February 9, 2021 10:56 a.m. EST

— Thomas Caldwell, a Virginia man whom prosecutors have charged as part of an extremist group's alleged conspiracy to prepare and attack the Capitol on January 6, said in a court filing Monday night he worked for the FBI from 2009 until 2010 and asserts he has held a "Top Secret" level security clearance for decades.

Caldwell, 65, raised the resume points in a new filing arguing for his release from jail after the Justice Department convinced a judge he should be held pending his trial.

Caldwell's defense attorney wrote in Monday's filing that Caldwell "has held a Top Secret Security Clearance since 1979 and has undergone multiple Special Background Investigations in support of his clearance."

CNN has reached out to the FBI, which did not immediately comment.

The Justice Department has not yet responded, and is set to respond to Caldwell's request in court later this week.

This comes as several Capitol riot defendants in federal court have challenged judges' detention orders or have seen the Justice Department push for their detention, and as federal investigators work toward meatier cases against right-wing paramilitary political activists and extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers, which Caldwell is allegedly connected to, according to his indictment.

Caldwell previously said in court proceedings he is a veteran, and reiterated that to the judge in Washington, DC, on Monday. Caldwell's defense attorney, in the filing, also denied he is an Oath Keeper and argues prosecutors have no proof he was in the Capitol building January 6.

In the days before the riot, Caldwell wrote on Facebook responding to an alleged call-to-action among the group, "I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I did the former, I have done the latter peacefully but they have morphed into pure evil even blatantly rigging an election and paying off the political caste. We must smite them now and drive them down," according to his indictment, where he is named alongside two others allegedly connected to paramilitary group.

He also wrote about "night hunting" in Washington and "Oath Keeper friends in North Carolina," prosecutors said. He is charged by the grand jury with conspiracy, destruction of government property, entering the restricted grounds of the Capitol and obstruction of an official proceeding, referring to the Congressional session to certify the election of Joe Biden as President.

During the siege, prosecutors allege Caldwell wrote via Facebook "Inside." They also say he took selfies on a balcony on the perimeter of the Capitol.

At his previous detention hearing, the judge called his alleged actions on January 6 "pure lawlessness."

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