Former Government Official Charged for Falsely Accusing Colleagues of Involvement in Jan. 6 Capitol Events

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A former government official has been charged with making multiple false statements implicating his former colleagues in the January 6th Capitol event, according to court documents.

Miguel Zapata, a former government official, was arrested Thursday and has been accused of misusing the FBI’s anonymous tip website.

Special Agent Cole Ashcraft, who is assigned to the FBI’s Washington Field Office Cyber Task Force, indicated that the false statements were made between February and April 2021 through the FBI’s online tip portal.

The agency began scrutinizing these tips after noticing similarities in their wording and the dates they were submitted. Investigations linked the submissions to IP addresses owned by a service that provides anonymous web access, eventually tracing them back to Zapata.

Zapata allegedly submitted false claims suggesting that various government employees and contractors, some of whom are affiliated with an unnamed intelligence agency, were involved in or supported the events of January 6.

Zapata’s tips included accusations that these individuals were physically present at the Capitol during the protest, participated in violent actions, or shared classified information with protesters to help them overthrow the U.S. government.

He accused former colleagues of connections with groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

The FBI’s investigation revealed that all individuals named by Zapata were verifiably elsewhere during the events of January 6, primarily at work in Virginia, thus debunking Zapata’s claims.

The detailed probe included interviews with the accused individuals and examination of their electronic footprints, which showed no participation or presence at the Capitol during the riot.

Here are the excerpts from the seven false tips that Zapata submitted to the FBI between February and April 2021 according to the affidavit:

1. February 10, 2021 – Victim 1 and Victim 2

On February 10, 2021, ZAPATA submitted the following tip to the FBI about Victim 1:

[Victim 1] . . . was actively engaged in attempting to overthrow the government of the United States. [He/she] actively took part in the riot on January 6 2021, that lead to the deaths of 6 people.

Additional Info: Has espoused […] conspiracy theories and actively retaliates against colleagues that do not share [his/her] political views.

What was the exact crime that occurred? Involvement in the Capitol riot and insurrection.

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? Washington, DC

 [Victim 2] . . . was actively engaged in attempting to overthrow the government of the United States.

[He/she] actively took part in the riot and insurrection on January 6 2021, that lead to the deaths of 6 people.

Additional Info: Has espoused […] conspiracy theories and aligns with colleagues that share similar views.

What was the exact crime that occurred?: Actively took part in the riot and insurrection at the Capitol.

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? Washington, DC

2. February 16, 2021 – Victim 3 and Victim 5

Victim 3 On February 16, 2021, ZAPATA submitted the following tip to the FBI about Victim 3:

[Victim 3] attended the US capitol riot and insurrection and was present when storming the capitol.

What was the exact crime that occurred?: Took part in insurrection at the US capitol

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? US Capitol

How is Contact Known: Colleague

[Victim 5] attended the US Capitol riot and insurrection. [He/she] took an active role in leading the riot and storming the US Captiol [sic] to hunt for politicians and execute them.

Additional Info: In addition to attending the riot and insurrection at the US Captiol,[sic] [he/she] espouses extremist ideology in the work place and has bragged about [his/her] association with the Boogaloo Bois, ProudBoys and Oath Keepers. While serving as a contractor at [an intelligence agency], [he/she] has accessed classified Agency resources to foment terror and incite violence by sharing this information with other conspiracy theory based personalities […] [He/she] has often talked about “sharing classified information with these groups and individuals as being a [sic] [his/her] duty to ensure the United States Constitution is protected.”

What was the exact crime that occurred?: [Victim 5] attended the US Capitol riot and insurrection

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? US Capitol

How is Contact Known: Colleague

3. February 17, 2021 – Victim 6 On February 17, 2021, ZAPATA submitted the following tip to the FBI about Victim 6:

[Victim 6] attended the capitol riot insurrection. [He/she] was directly involved in coordination of the riot that lead [sic] to the deaths of 6 people. Additional Info: […] [he/she] uses [his/her] clearance to continue supporting [an intelligence agency] and accesses classified information.

What was the exact crime that occurred?: [Victim 6] attended the capitol riot insurrection.

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? Washington DC

How is Contact Known: Colleague

4. April 11, 2021 – Victim 7 and Victim 8 i. Victim 7 On April 11, 2021, ZAPATA submitted the following tip to the FBI about Victim 7:

[Victim 7] attended the riot insurrection at the Capitol that lead [sic] to the death of multiple people and the wounding of multiple police officers. [He/she] also provided support to domestic terrorist groups like the OathKeepers, Proud Boys and Boogaloos. [He/she] used [his/her] position of trust in the intelligence community to share classified information with these groups in an effort to assist them succeed in overthrowing the government. [He/she] currently works for [an intelligence agency][…] and is actively engaged in leadership meetings that grant [him/her] higher than normally expected access to classified information. [His/her] actions on January 6 directly lead [sic] to and actively contributed to the successful breach of Capitol police barricades through his encrypted communication techniques used on that day.

What was the exact crime that occurred?: Attended and provided support to the January 6 insurrection riot

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? Washington DC, Capitol

How is Contact Known: Colleague

[Victim 8] provided material support and coordination by way of [his/her] position of trust with access to classified information to domestic terrorist groups like the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, and Boogaloos. […] [he/she] shared classified information with terrorist groups in hopes that this information would lead to the overthrow of the United States government. [His/her] position of trust within the intelligence community led to these groups breaching police barricades by encouraging a flanking maneuver on the barricade that resulted in the overrun of police lines on January 6 2021. […] [he/she] has maintained access to classified data, senior executive service employees and managers with connections to [an intelligence agency] and grown a social network of classified personnel from which [he/she] has exploited to support insurrection. For over a decade [he/she] has quietly plotted a “change in government” leading to the downfall of United States government and other institutions through [his/her] legacy position of trust and access.

What was the exact crime that occurred?: January 6 insurrection riot at the Capitol

When did the crime/incident occur? January 6 2021

Where did the crime/incident occur? Capitol, Washington DC

How is Contact Known: Colleague

Zapata is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2) and (3), laws that criminalize knowingly making false statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

According to abc News, Zapata “has not yet entered a plea and was released on bond following a hearing before a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C.”

 

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