We continue our examination of the January 6 protests. We've already seen key violent instigators on video allowed behind police lines, consulting with law enforcement, and permitted to take a lead in the crowd where they push past police. We pick up now with some of them leading a group to the fatal scene where a Capitol police lieutenant shoots and kills unarmed protestor Ashli Babbitt.
The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
Now outside the House floor, our analysts note numerous protesters using hand signals.
John Dodson: So, watch his hand.
Stephen Friend: Yeah. He's identifying somebody.
Dodson: Yeah, he's picking somebody out in the crowd and pointing to them up there.
Friend: He is signaling somebody. And there's another fist up right now. So there's multiple people that are doing the fist.
Some ten minutes after "Earmuff Man" first appeared on the video from behind the police line and blended in with the crowd, he’s the key instigator outside a hallway called the Speaker’s Lobby. Notice the officer doesn’t react or pull away when "Earmuff Man" grabs him by the hand. A police team in riot gear arrives. They’re nearby off-camera, and three officers guarding the Speaker's Lobby suddenly walk off.
Friend: And immediately they all walk away.
Dodson: I'd love to know why or who gave the order for them to abandon that post. Everything seemed calm. They had it under control. They were holding their line. And then they forfeited, and I don't know why.
"Earmuff Man" removes his hat and mask and takes the lead, beating on the glass with a helmet as police and a sergeant at arms official watch. The gun of Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd can be seen. He fires, killing an unarmed protester named Ashli Babbitt as she climbs through a broken window.
"Earmuff Man" immediately runs behind the line of police in riot gear who are watching, positioned on a staircase just steps away, and they let him in. Though he was a violent leader just moments before, he can be seen speaking with and touching officers who then allow him to crouch and dig through his backpack as they turn their backs to him.
Friend: Yeah, that's an emergency response team. So they're not there to negotiate with you. They're there to put you on the ground. But they're letting him back.
Dodson: If you look down there now, so he's changing his shirt.
Friend: He's getting things or putting things in his bag.
Sharyl: So in police training, would you ever let a demonstrator after a shooting come behind your line and turn your back on him, dig through his backpack?
Dodson: He's gonna be controlled. Firstly, if he's behind the line, it's because we want him there, and then he's gonna have somebody with him. He's gonna have somebody probably on top of him.
Sharyl: If he were a demonstrator?
Dodson: Right, yeah. Literally. If I need to talk to him, hold onto him, and we pass him to the back, then they're holding onto him very, very securely until it's over with and we're done talking to him.
Sharyl: What does this scene say to you?
Dodson: He obviously has free range to do — now I understand it's a very dynamic situation. There's a lot going on. But for all these, you know, emergency response team or rapid reaction team to just keep passing him back to no one and allow him to go digging through that bag in the stairwell, it raises a lot of questions.
Sharyl: Tell me about procedure and what you see here?
Friend: He would've been passed down the steps and restrained. He might have handcuffs, zip ties on him, if he was somebody that you were passing down the line. If he was a crowd control issue, he's certainly within lunging distance for these guys. They're clearly comfortable with him being there. The last guy on the line doesn't even have his face towards him. He's got his back towards him.
"Earmuff Man" wasn’t arrested that day. But images of him breaking the glass before Ashli Babbitt was shot were shown on the news and online. Amid the public uproar, he was arrested about a month later. His name: Zachary Alam. His indictment didn’t explain why he took a lead that day, or mention any evidence he’s a Trump supporter.
We asked the Justice Department to help identify and provide context for key instigators seen on camera, but they declined. Lawyers representing Alam didn’t return calls. He now awaits January sentencing on 10 criminal convictions.
A Justice Department press release says Alam had roamed violently around the Capitol on January 6 until he was quote “corralled” in that hallway, where police inexplicably allowed him to join the crowd and become a leader.
More questions are raised by a high-ranking law enforcement source that day. He tells Full Measure that, for the first time he knows of, Capitol police weren’t given the standard intelligence briefing telling which intelligence agencies, officers, and informants would be in the crowd on January 6.
And last month, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that, in a deviation from normal practice, undercover officers from other departments were embedded without his knowledge.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) (September 19 Congressional hearing): We actually have evidence and records indicating plainclothes MPD officers were on Capitol grounds on January 6, and you're saying you weren’t aware that they would have embedded those officers within the crowd? They didn't make you aware of that?
Steven Sund: No sir, they did not make me aware of it.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has gone on record denying his agency played any improper role.
Christopher Wray/FBI Director (July 12): I will say that this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous and is a disservice to our brave, hardworking, dedicated men and women.
Sharyl: Is it a rational question to ask, whether those people were working with the federal agencies or with police?
Friend: Yes, it's absolutely a completely reasonable question. What, could they have been an informant? Perhaps. Could they have been an undercover? You never know. I don't think that this is a perfect puzzle where all the pieces go together. I do think though, that there were some just blatant behaviors that day that were not normal — they were very unnatural — that necessitate a full, transparent, and open investigation by the individuals that are positioned to do that in government and by individuals such as yourself in media who should have access to that footage so that they can present it to the American people.
Sharyl (on-camera): Democrats in Congress withheld the full Capitol videos. After Republicans won control of the House in 2022, they also withheld the video, but recently established strict processes for who they say can view parts of the video in private and make requests for clips.
Watch story here.
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