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Man charged with plotting and participating in Capitol incident was former FBI section chief with top-secret security clearance
By Arsenio Toledo // Feb 11, 2021

Federal authorities are accusing Thomas Caldwell of plotting and participating in the incident at the Capitol in advance. His lawyer contends that Caldwell has previously worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has also held a top-secret security clearance for decades.


According to Caldwell's attorney Thomas Plofchan, his client worked at the FBI from 2009 to 2010 as a section chief. This was right after he retired from serving in the Navy with the rank of lieutenant commander.

"He has been vetted and found numerous times as a person worthy of trust and confidence of the United States government, as indicated by granting him Top Secret clearances," wrote Plofchan in a court motion. Caldwell has allegedly had a top-secret security clearance since 1979. To maintain this security clearance, he has had to go through multiple special background investigations.

Plofchan also asserted that Caldwell ran a consulting firm that did classified work for the federal government.

Federal authorities have also accused Caldwell of being a member of the organization known as the Oath Keepers. This is a group that has been claimed to be a conservative militia organization that is being investigated for its potential role in the Capitol riot.

The group was founded in 2009 by Elmer Stewart Rhodes, a veteran Army paratrooper and a former staffer for Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The organization's name is derived from the pledge taken by the military and the police to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Its members, which the organization states number over 35,000, consist of former police and first responders as well as military veterans. (Related: War, riot expert: Anti-trump "agent provocateurs" were in charge of destruction at Capitol building, including Antifa/BLM, using tactics as old as the Bible.)

But Plofchan has denied that his client was part of the group.

"And even if he were," argued Plofchan, "such membership would be protected activity under the First Amendment."

Caldwell unlikely to be part of Capitol incident due to disability

According to court documents, Plofchan argued that Caldwell could not have entered the Capitol building during the violence on Jan. 6 due to "physical limitations." These would have prevented him from even just participating in the event.

Caldwell, who Plofchan called a "100 percent disabled veteran," suffered from a series of complications related to a "service-connected injury." These complications have given Caldwell shoulder, back and knee issues. In 2010, Caldwell even had spinal surgery meant to treat these conditions. The surgery failed, which led to chronic spine issues. The court filing also stated that Caldwell has post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Moving, sitting for extended periods of time, lifting, carrying and other physical activities are extremely painful and Caldwell is limited in his ability to engage in them," read the motion.

Plofchan said that several witnesses are willing to appear in court or sign a sworn affidavit to testify that Caldwell never entered the Capitol building. He pointed out that Caldwell's "physical limitations would have prevented him from forcibly entering any building or storming past any barrier."

The documents presented by federal authorities show messages allegedly between Caldwell and other people. The other people in the conversation were supposedly arranging to book hotel rooms in the Washington, D.C. area several days before the Capitol unrest.

One of the people in the conversation sends a message to Caldwell saying: "Will probably call you tomorrow … mainly because … I like to know wtf plan is. You are the man COMMANDER."

Federal investigators are also alleging that the Oath Keepers sent each other messages during the Capitol unrest regarding where several lawmakers were in the Capitol complex.

Court documents allege that at one point during the incident, Caldwell received a message that said, "all members are in the tunnels under the capital … Seal them in turn on gas."

"Us storming the castle," read one message that Caldwell allegedly sent. "Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator!"

The Department of Justice is leading the investigation. The FBI has not yet issued any comments regarding Plofchan's court motion.

Learn more about the other people being investigated in connection to the incident at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by reading the latest articles at Rioting.news.

Sources include:




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