‘Sedition Hunters’ Brag To POLITICO About Helping FBI Track Down January 6 Defendants

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Sedition Hunters, an allegedly “volunteer army of online investigators,” boast about “building entire” January 6 cases for the FBI “from soup to nuts” in a new report published in Politico Magazine authored by Ryan Reilly, an NBC News “justice” reporter that investigators contend is government contracted Sedition Hunter.

Sedition Hunters, a network of anti-conservative Antifa activists, are crowdsourcing an online investigation of Americans who protested on January 6 following the Capitol riot.

The online community of Sedition Hunters successfully use Twitter to help the FBI and Department of Justice identify suspects who took part in the insurrection. Their work has been cited in multiple arrests and legal proceedings.

As TGP has reported,  the far-left network of FBI informants successfully mines large troves of data, including thousands of hours of CCTV footage and police body cam footage, to create multi-angle composite images to identify, dox J6 protesters and report them to the feds. 

The left-wing protesters “militant trans,” who previously called to defund the police, use creative nicknames as hashtags to collectively refer to unidentified people of interest and reach a broader audience on Twitter.

In recent article published by Politico Magazine on Friday, titled “Dating Websites and Furry Forums: The Volunteer Army of Online Investigators Who Helped The FBI Track Down January 6 Perpetrators,” Reilly describes how a Sedition Hunter he references as Josh enjoys “dopamine hit after dopamine hit after dopamine hit” after helping the FBI arrest one American after another who protested the stolen election in the nation’s capital as members of Congress certified the flagrantly fraud-ridden presidential election.


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Josh is so enamored while “hunting insurrectionist by night” that he “developed carpal tunnel syndrome” during the hundreds of hours he’s dedicated to sitting in front of his computer identifying, tracking and doxing January 6 protesters, Reilly explains:

It was early 2023, and an online sleuth I’ll call Josh was on the hunt once again. Josh worked for the corporate office of a global, publicly traded company in the south, but his real passion these days was solving crimes that happened two years earlier and hundreds of miles away on Jan. 6, at the U.S. Capitol. Josh’s home sleuthing setup wasn’t anything fancy: just him and his laptop, though he’d switched to a trackball mouse after he started developing symptoms of carpal tunnel “from working my day job all day and hunting insurrectionists by night.”

The halfway mark of the investigation into the Capitol attack — the largest FBI investigation in American history — was fast approaching, and Josh’s community of online sleuths were at the center of it: vacuuming up video, scouring social media, finding fresh faces and new crimes.

The swath of online trolls who champion themselves “Sedition Hunters” hide their identities behind profile pictures of cartoons and code names on the internet as they surveil, harass and publish private or identifying information of “#chuds,” a slur they use to reference MAGA supporters and American patriots.

Reilly is one of approximately 20 journalists with left-wing publications including NPR, Associated Press, Lawfare, New York Times, which all characterize J6 defendants as “insurrectionists” and “white supremacists” in their reports. who regularly attend J6 trials at the Barry E. Prettyman federal courthouse.

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Meanwhile, seldom, if ever, are journalists from conservative media outlets in the media room at the courthouse or attend the January 6 trials.

Reilly is also the author of the new book, “Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System.”

When approached by this reporter for an interview in August, Reilly eerily began to giggle and walk away.

“We are colleagues, journalists, why don’t you want to talk for a few minutes?” I asked him.

“I don’t know about that,” Reilly condescendingly interjected.

Nearly three years into the FBI’s sprawling J6 investigation, new identifications of protesters aren’t stopping. Online sleuthing successfully replaced wanted posters.

The NBC reporter credits the Sedition Hunters with “building entire cases for the FBI” against Americans who demonstrated in the nation’s capital on January 6.

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Sedition hunters identified hundreds of protesters who have yet to be arrested, Reilly notes:

The FBI was closing in on 1,000 arrests of people who had entered the Capitol or engaged in violence or property destruction that day, and this collection of online investigators — “Sedition Hunters,” they’d branded themselves — had sparked hundreds of those arrests, and aided hundreds more. What’s more, they’d identified more than 700 Jan. 6 participants who had not yet been arrested.

Often, Sedition Hunters like Josh were building entire cases for the FBI from soup to nuts, but the bureau’s rules made it difficult for special agents to offer even basic updates on the status of investigations.

The one-way street was frustrating. The best-written feedback they could hope for was maybe one word: “received.” One FBI informant was thrilled just to get thumbs-up emojis from her FBI handler.

Josh was shocked to learn a Trump supporter was amongst the gang of devoted internet sleuths on the hunt for J6 protesters and compares the feeling of turning J6ers over to the FBI to “one dopamine after dopamine hit after dopamine hit,” Reilly reports:

Those new friends could still surprise him. Just a few months earlier, he’d learned that one of those friends he’d worked with closely — a sleuth who played a critical role in the community — had voted for Donald Trump. Twice. That came as a shock to Josh, who remembers the moment as well as he remembers where he was on Sept. 11, or on the day Michael Jackson died.

“It was less of a record scratch moment and more of a record getting blown up by a tomahawk missile moment,” he said.

That’s part of what kept him at it, on top of the comradery and the knowledge that he was helping protect democracy and get justice for those affected by the attack: There was always a new discovery to make, another piece of the puzzle to find. Pull one string, and suddenly the answer to another question you had months ago just falls out of the sky. Maybe a newly unearthed video you discovered pans past a rioter at juuust the right moment, and suddenly you’ve got a perfect face shot of a masked-up assailant who took a sip of water at the wrong time.

Maybe you’re trying to debunk yet another conspiracy theory from some nutty far-right website (Nope, that guy’s not antifa either!), and you stumble upon a previously undocumented assault on a member of the U.S. Capitol Police, who weren’t wearing body cameras. It was dopamine hit after dopamine hit after dopamine hit.

“It’s a thrill and feeling of fulfillment that is unmatched by anything else I’ve ever done,” Josh said.

Josh primarily focused on archiving videos and photos from Jan. 6, creating backups of open-source materials he found online and making them available to other researchers in a permanent database.

“Finding needles in haystacks online,” he said, “that’s what I’m really good at.”

Reilly describes how the sedition hunter even scoured through porn sites to confirm the identity of one of the J6 protesters and turn him in to the FBI:

After running a rioter’s photo through a facial recognition site — and then combing through what he described as “an avalanche of dicks” upon discovering images of the suspect on numerous explicit websites — he was able to identify a former gay porn actor who appeared to assault a police officer. That wasn’t even the first time the sleuths found a suspect thanks to a rioter’s previous work in pornography.

“The things I do for this country,” Josh jokingly messaged me when he got a match. “The number of dicks I’ve had to see in the name of preserving our democracy, someone should give me a goddamn medal.”

He shared his latest finding with his small crew of sleuth friends from across the country, laying out yet another identification that would eventually make its way to the FBI.

“WTF am I unlocking my computer to?” wrote the Trump-voting sleuth after Josh dropped a link to erotic photos in the group chat.

“Patriotism bitch,” Josh replied.

In July, a source who works with investigators with the Weaponization Committee warned Sedition Hunters are government contractors.

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NBC News Author Ryan J. Reilly
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NBC News Author Ryan J. Reilly
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Reilly is a government-contracted Sedition Hunter, the source who asked their name be withheld told TGP.

If the source’s assessment is accurate about Reilly, NBC News would be officially acting in a state-run media capacity.

A group of Sedition Hunters who use the moniker ‘”Capitol Terrorist Exposers@J6DreamTeam” on Twitter feature a photograph of Reilly in the cover photo of their Twitter page.

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The so-called J6 Dream Team began doxing this reporter on Twitter after I called attention to Reilly’s involvement in their operation.

Reilly boasts about working closely with Sedition Hunters, often in person, following the Capitol riot:

Since a mob of Donald Trump supporters whipped up by his lies about the 2020 election stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, I’ve immersed myself in the communities of online sleuths who are driving the FBI investigation.

I learned the names of hundreds of Jan. 6 participants before their arrests, including the identities of over 100 individuals whose images are currently featured on the FBI’s Capitol Violence page, but who still haven’t been charged.

There was a funeral home owner who’d sprayed cops with a wasp and hornet spray. A celebrity photo collector who’d had his photo taken with Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian. An ex-NFL player. A former race car driver. A neurosurgeon. A stand-up comic named Kevin Downey Jr., who’d been on “America’s Got Talent” a decade earlier. A Trump enthusiast who’d flashed a gun at the Capitol and then fatally stabbed a 19-year-old at a park a few months later. Yet another male model, yet another corrections officer, yet another police officer, yet another real estate agent. A fan of anthropomorphized animals, seen on the Senate floor on Jan. 6, who was identified because a sleuth did a deep dive into the world of furries and found the man’s name (and his pseudonym, or “fursona”) because the man hosted a furry Thanksgiving party at his “den.” A guy who’d previously been arrested for playing a musical instrument naked in public, and a guy who’d since been arrested for walking around his neighborhood without pants. A man associated with the Proud Boys who’d been at the Capitol with his son and was subsequently arrested — with the help of DNA — for the decades-old murder of a 17-year-old girl.

I spent months getting to know many of the sleuths, and met many of them in person. I’ve talked to Sedition Hunters all over the country about their techniques, their motivations and their biggest finds. I know some by their real names, others only by their handles and their investigative track records. We’ve bonded over child-rearing, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, a common diagnosis among sleuths, it turns out!), sports rivalries, bingeable shows and memes. Lots of memes.

Some sleuths kept at it a few weeks, others a few months. Others popped in-and-out, as their life and schedule allowed. Some were already plotting what was going to happen after Jan. 6, 2026, when the statute of limitations expired, and the justification for withholding the names of identified rioters from the public — namely, that making those names known would negatively impact the cases they hoped the feds were building — was no longer a concern.

Law enforcement officials champion the work of Sedition Hunters, Reilly reports, with one asserting Antifa’s online trolls “are these [J6] investigations” :

I’ve covered the Justice Department for more than a decade, and I’d talked with FBI informants before. But none of them hold a candle to the impact the Sedition Hunters have had. Working out of their home offices, from their couches, kitchen tables, bedrooms, garages and — in one case — from the sleeper cab of their semitruck, this group of anonymous Americans has been working to hold the FBI’s feet to the fire to make sure these cases don’t get buried.

Jan. 6 was a pivot point for American democracy. It was also a pivot point for the FBI and law enforcement, which were caught flat-footed despite all the warning signs flashing online ahead of the Capitol attack, and who were left playing catch-up with open-source researchers moving at internet speed.

“They are these investigations,” one law enforcement official told me. “I am so incredibly grateful to the sleuths for everything they have done. But what an egg on the face of United States law enforcement.”

Reilly is on a media tour promoting his new book, Sedition Hunters.

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Source material can be found at this site.

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