The Three Key Details the Proud Boy Unindicted Co-Conspirator Likely Revealed to Prosecutors

By March 1, the government had three pieces of evidence that form a key part of a conspiracy indictment accusing Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe of conspiring to breach the Capitol and by doing so, delaying the certification of the vote:

  • The Proud Boys used Baofeng radios set to a specific channel (which channel prosecutors knew)
  • After Enrique Tarrio’s arrest, Ethan Nordean got put in charge of the January 6 operation
  • The gang had a plan to split up to optimize the chances of success

A detention motion for Nordean submitted on that day included all three of these details. It described how the Proud Boys distributed Baofeng radios to use in the operation.

Arrangements were made to program and distribute multiple Baofeng radios5 for use by Proud Boys members to communicate during the event. Baofeng is a Chinese communications equipment manufacturer. Baofeng radios can be programmed to communicate on more than 1,000 different frequencies, making them far more difficult to monitor or overhear than common “walkie talkie” type radios. Specific radio frequencies were communicated to the Proud Boys.

5 Law enforcement recovered a Baofeng radio from Defendant’s home during the execution of a search warrant—the Baofeng radio recovered from Defendant’s home was still tuned to frequency that had been communicated to the group.

[snip]

The group led by Defendant arrived at the east side of the Capitol before noon. Several of the men in the group were holding Baofeng radios. Others had them clipped to their belts or jackets.

It described how Nordean was put in charge after Tarrio’s arrest.

Moreover, following the arrest of the Proud Boys’ Chairman on January 4, 2021, Defendant was nominated from within to have “war powers” and to take ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys’ activities on January 6, 2021.

[snip]

On January 4, 2021, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the self-proclaimed “Chairman” of the Proud Boys was arrested shortly after arriving in Washington, D.C., pursuant to a warrant issued by D.C. Superior Court. In communications between Proud Boys members following Tarrio’s arrest, it was acknowledged that Defendant would be among those that led the Proud Boys on the ground on January 6, 2021.

And it described a decision to split people up in an effort to increase the likelihood of actually shutting down the certification of the vote.

As noted more fully below, Defendant—dressed all in black, wearing a tactical vest—led the Proud Boys through the use of encrypted communications and military-style equipment, and he led them with the specific plans to: split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results.

[snip]

In order to increase the odds that their plan would succeed, Defendant and those Proud Boys following him dressed “incognito” and spread out to many different locations from which they could force entry into the Capitol. Defendant and others responsible for the January 6 Proud Boys event likely knew from experience that their typical tactic of marching in “uniform,” and in unison, would draw a concentrated law enforcement response to their location. By blending in and spreading out, Defendant and those following him on January 6 made it more likely that either a Proud Boy—or a suitably-inspired “normie”—would be able to storm the Capitol and its ground in such a way that would interrupt the Certification of the Electoral College vote

Even after prosecutors shared these damning claims, their bid to keep Nordean in jail failed. Nordean’s wife filed a declaration stating in part that Nordean obtained the radio on January 7 and, to her knowledge, he did not possess such a radio before that date.

An indictment against Nordean obtained on March 3 to comply with the Speedy Trial Act (but not released publicly until after the detention hearing) mentioned none of that.

And at the March 3 detention hearing before Beryl Howell, according to Zoe Tillman, the government withdrew the claim that Nordean had the Proud Boys split into groups as a factor for that detention hearing. In what the WaPo described as, “a remarkable stumble for prosecutors,”Judge Howell released Nordean to home detention, saying there was little evidence that Nordean played that leadership role.

Nordean “was a leader of a march to the Capitol. But once he got there it is not clear what leadership role this individual took at all for the people who went inside,” Howell said. “Evidence that he directed other defendants to break into or enter the Capitol is weak, to say the least.”

Nordean’s release marked a stumble for prosecutors, who have cast him as a key figure based on what Howell agreed were “ominous” communications before Jan. 6 that they said indicated he and other Proud Boys were planning “violent action” to overwhelm police and force entry to the Capitol. The judge’s decision sets back for now the government’s efforts to establish that there was a wider plot to that end.

[snip]

“The government has backed down from saying that he directly told them to split into groups and that they had this strategic plan,” Howell remarked.

Howell said that although Nordean’s release was a “close call,” she agreed with the defense that “there’s no allegation that the defendant caused injury to any person, or that he even personally caused damage to any particular property.”

Prosecutors claimed they had this evidence on March 1. But after failing to present it at that March 3 hearing, Nordean got released.

On March 15, the judge assigned to the case after Nordean got indicted, Timothy Kelly, issued an order delaying the arraignment scheduled for the next day. He offered no explanation.

What didn’t become clear until this week is that, on March 10, the government obtained the superseding indictment against Nordean and others. And then, on March 12, the government asked Judge Kelly to delay Nordean’s arraignment on his original indictment because of the superseding indictment. Prosecutors explained that revealing the indictment ahead of time would risk alerting Rehl and Donohoe before they could be arrested and their houses searched.

On March 10, 2021, a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia returned a Superseding Indictment charging Defendant, and three co-defendants (two of whom were not previously charged), with Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; Obstruction of an Agency Proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)(2), and 2; Obstructing Law Enforcement During a Civil Disorder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 231(a)(3), and 2; 18 U.S.C. §§ 1361, and 2; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1); and Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(2).

The Superseding Indictment is under seal, pending the arrest of newly charged defendants and the execution of search warrants. Law Enforcement anticipates executing the arrests and search warrants of the new defendants in a coordinated operation on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Once the arrests are executed, the Superseding Indictment will be unsealed.

The evidence the superseding indictment provides to substantiate claims first made on March 1 may explain an even bigger reason why prosecutors didn’t provide their evidence for those three claims in time to keep Nordean in custody: They had an unindicted co-conspirator (presumably someone cooperating with prosecutors) who was, along with the four conspiracy defendants, on an encrypted channel created after Enrique Tarrio’s arrest on January 4 that Proud Boy leaders used to continue planning for January 6. That unindicted co-conspirator was personally involved in all three details included in that detention memo against Nordean. He helped divvy up the Proud Boys to be spread out during the January 6 operation.

39. On after Chairman’s January 4, 2021, shortly after Proud Boys Chairman’s arrest pursuant to a warrant issued by D.C. Superior Court, DONOHOE expressed concern that encrypted communications that involved Proud Boys Chairman would be compromised when law enforcement examined Proud Boys Chairmans’ phone. DONOHOE then created a new channel on the encrypted messaging application, entitled, “New MOSD,” and took steps to destroy or “nuke” the earlier channel. After its creation, the “New MOSD” channel included NORDEAN, BIGGS, REHL, DONOHOE, and a handful of additional members.

40. On January 2021, at 7:15 p.m., DONOHOE posted a message on various encrypted messaging channels, including New MOSD, which read, “Hey have been instructed and listen to me real good! There is no planning of any sorts. I need to be put into whatever new thing is created. Everything is compromised and we can be looking at Gang charges.” DONOHOE then wrote, “Stop everything immediately” and then “This comes from the top.”

41. On January 4, 2021, at 8:20 p.m., an unindicted co-conspirator (“UCC-1”) posted to New MOSD channel: “We had originally planned on breaking the guys into teams. Let’s start divying them up and getting baofeng channels picked out.”

Note: If “New MOSD” was a channel of State leaders of the Proud Boys, it would likely have included Nicholas Ochs, who heads the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys. Ochs was the first senior Proud Boy to be arrested, on January 7, at the airport when he arrived back in Hawaii (and therefore carrying anything he had with him at the insurrection, potentially including his cell phone and any radios he kept). Kathryn Rakoczy, who has since moved onto the team prosecuting the Oath Keepers, was the original prosecutor on Ochs’ case. But now Christopher Berridge, who is on all the other Proud Boy cases but not the Nordean and Biggs one, is prosecuting Ochs. Ochs is charged in a parallel conspiracy indictment, with the very same goal and many of the same means as the Nordean and Biggs one, but which for some reason was not identified as a related case to the other three Proud Boy ones and so was not assigned to Judge Kelly; Judge Howell is presiding over Ochs’ case. Ochs has a superb defense attorney, Edward McMahon. Many of these details, which make the curious treatment of the Ochs-DeCarlo conspiracy indictment clear, are in this post or this expanded table.

Whoever the unindicted co-conspirator is, he’s the one who set the channel of the Baofeng radios the night before the insurrection. And he’s the one who stated that Nordean was in charge.

46. At 9:03 p.m., REHL notified NORDEAN, BIGGS, DONOHOE and others that he had arrived in Washington, D.C. DONOHOE responded by requesting one of the radios that REHL had brought.

47.  At 9:09 p.m., UCC-1 broadcast a message to MOSD and Boots on the Ground channels that read: “Stand by for the shared baofeng channel and shared zello channel, no Colors, be decentralized and use good judgement until further orders” UCC-1 also wrote, Rufio is in charge, cops are the primary threat, don’t get caught by them or BLM, don’t get drunk until off the street.” UCC-1 then provided a specific radio frequency of 477.985.

It is highly likely that prosecutors learned the three details included in that detention motion — that Nordean had been put in charge, that the Proud Boys were using Baofeng radios set to frequency 477.985, and that part of the plan was to disperse the men to increase chances of success — from the unindicted co-conspirator and or devices seized from him when he was first arrested.

And it took them less than two months to learn those details of the plot.

Update: The government has moved to detain both Nordean and Biggs now. Those motions cite from the Telegram chats the Proud Boys used to organize the day before the attack, including (I’ve combined them from both motions):

On January 5, between 9:30 – 9:32am [Biggs] stated “What are the teams. I keep hearing team [sic] are picked already.” A few minutes later, [Biggs] stated “Who are we going to be with. I have guys with me in other chats saying teams are being put together.”

On January 5, at 9:32am, a member of a Proud Boys Telegram group stated “It seems like our plan has totally broken down and rufio has taken control as a singke [sic] point of contact.”

On January 5, between 5:22 – 5:25pm, [Biggs] stated “Woth [sic] [coconspirator Ethan Nordean] trying to get numbers so we can make a plan.” Defendant then stated “Just trying to get our numbers. So we can plan accordingly for tonight and go over tomorrow’s plan.”

On January 5, at 5:52pm, [Biggs] stated “We are trying to avoid getting into any shit tonight. Tomorrow’s the day” and “I’m here with [co-conspirator Nordean] and a good group[.]”

On January 5, at 9:07pm, co-conspirator Charles Donohoe asked “Hey who’s boots on ground with a plan RN [ … ] Guys are asking.” A participant in the encrypted chat stated “Supposed to be Rufio.”

Within minutes, an unindicted co-conspirator broadcast a message to those in the group chat, “Rufio is in charge, cops are the primary threat, don’t get caught by them or BLM, don’t get drunk until off the street.”

On January 5, between 9:17 and 9:20pm, [Biggs] stated “We just had a meeting woth [sic] a lot of guys. Info should be coming out” and then “I was able to rally everyone here together who came where I said” and then, “We have a plan. I’m with [co-conspirator Nordean].”

On January 5, at 9:34pm [Biggs] told co-conspirator Charles Donohoe to communicate to Proud Boys members a message stating that the group in Washington, D.C. would meet at the Washington Monument at 10am on January 6.

On the morning of January 6, Donohoe stated that he was on his way to the Washington Monument, and “I have the keys until Rufio and [co-conspirator Zachary Rehl] show up.”

Update: As I note in a footnote to this post, Nicholas Ochs can’t be the unindicted co-conspirator. That’s true for two reasons. First, because DOJ does not believe UCC-1 was at the Capitol on January 6 (though doesn’t say where he was). DOJ knows Ochs was inside the Capitol. Also, DOJ has now started treating all the Proud Boy conspiracies as the same conspiracy. So Ochs could not, then, be considered un-indicted in that conspiracy.

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65 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    Their “split teamness” upon the assaults on and in the Capitol is so apparent you’d think they might be fighting tooth and nail to unseat that UCC-1 who’d planned it, huh? (So desperate that they were even entertaining talk of a Milo takeover a few weeks ago.)

    Thank you for including those intriguing elements of the story wrt Nordean’s delay, too.

    [I suspect Feuer/ Goldman had some kind of heads up as to that sealed superseding, too, because they had bothered to mention Rehl in their Proud Boys summary of ca. the 13th, then cited its existence on the 17th, upon the latter two arrests, before others.]

    So did some of the four share a radio at the Capitol? Biggs and Rehl (initially*) are each seen wearing them, so there’s two. Donohoe obtained one from Rehl, as above — but we don’t know “whose” he was using there (and as an aside re Nordean’s wife’s story, the idea he had only obtained a radio on the 7th would not necessarily have held water anyway since we know they raised money for people like Rehl to bring a bunch of radios to distribute on scene, i.e. that could have just been a second radio).

    I wonder because of: (1) para. 50 where Donohoe says he has “the keys” until Nordean and Rehl show up (could just mean he’s in charge; also he seems super eager to take/ have/ need be given jobs); and (2) sparse citing of comms, like para 68 where Donohoe says that they are regrouping. Maybe they’re keeping others under wraps, revealing just enough to loop-in Donohoe’s role. [They omitted other public stuff, like Rehl in Merkley’s office (and when that was).]


    *Rehl’s radio is no longer visible in that 2:47 PM video where a party with him — or possibly he — says, “You guys wanna go in?”. He does wear a backpack. But maybe someone else is using that radio.

    • Eureka says:

      Hazards of distracted posting: I shouldn’t have conflated UCC-1 with the Chairman. I meant to riff on the latter (and the group’s susceptibility to infighting) as Biggs makes it like he had a role in the planning.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Shorthand labels, like mistranslations, can be funny. A UCC-1 is also an information filing by a creditor who claims to have a security interest in property of a debtor.

        One of my favorite mistranslations, from an upscale hotel in SE Asia, was, “The manager has personally passed all the water served in this hotel.” The same could have been said about some of what passed for beer.

        • notjonathon says:

          I have a piece of paper that wrapped the toilet seat of a hotel in Japan that says, “washed up.” Commentary I really didn’t need.

  2. JAMES SCAMINACI says:

    You wrote the most revealing and damning word in the article but missed its significance: ZELLO.

    Paragraph 47: The Unindicted Co-Conspirator posted: ” ‘Stand by for the shared baofeng channel and shared zello channel.'”

    It means that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers had one potentially shareable radio net in common: ZELLO. If the leader(s) of Proud Boys and the leader(s) of Oath Keepers had a shared channel, other than the shared channel just within the Proud Boys group, it means the leaders of both groups could have coordinated their movements in real-time within the Capitol building.

    ZELLO is potentially the communications intersection between the two groups in the fiveparallel conspiracies.

    • emptywheel says:

      It was a different channel, per the reporter who IDed the Oath Keeper one. It’s not available now for him to check though.

      • JAMES SCAMINACI says:

        What I am suggesting are two things: 1) both Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were using Zello, so they have the potential to communicate directly. 2) the Unindicted Co-Conspirator has more information on the communication nets or channels being used. He knows the nets and who was on them. I doubt the FBI is going to reveal all that they know.

        I am familiar with the journalists’ reporting on Zello. It is two guys trying to monitor how many channels? Rhetorical question. They managed to monitor one channel, J6 for Oath Keepers. Their reporting is not definitive in any sense.

        Suppose one of the channels linking PB and OK has no obvious name to January 6th or anything militant like “Boots on the Ground”? They could be communicating for hours and the journalists would not know it.

        SIGINT is hard, even when you have a very large dedicated effort.

        I am suggesting that the FBI probably has much more information on communications derived from interrogating UCC-1, and, if they find a communications link between PB and OK, the five parallel conspiracies become one.

        The FBI has shown repeatedly that it has withheld information as they develop cases against other conspirators. The “zello” in the First Superseding Indictment is the first suggestion that they may be working on the link between the two groups.

        Or, they may find there is no communications link between the 2 groups. But, we already know that before January 6th, there were discussions between Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, so we do not know the extent of how much coordination and planning went on.

        And depending upon how much operational security they exercised within their respective groups, many members might not have known that the leaders of the two groups were communicating in real-time within the Capitol.

        • emptywheel says:

          And I’m saying two other things.
          First, we don’t have to get to Zello chats to show these conspiracies are intersecting. There are about 3 other known channels between the two groups (including Caldwell, Stone, and Alex Jones, among others). Likely, a big part of those connections will go through FL: Meggs and James, Biggs and Tarrio.

          Second, the journalist in question has affirmatively IDed the chat in question. He can’t access it nor did he in real time (unlike the Oath Keepers one it may have been encrypted and so inaccessible to him). But he has IDed it.

    • jonf says:

      “Most people know Zello as an app that turns their smartphones, tablets, and PCs into a walkie-talkie. With Zello, you can talk to your family, friends, and colleagues instantly without dialing a phone number”
      A walkie talkie.

  3. Ginevra diBenci says:

    This suggests to me that Nicholas Ochs, through Ed McMahon, might be the proverbial mouse that gets the cheese. The unindicted co-conspirator doesn’t seem to have been highly placed, at least not as high as Ochs.

  4. Wm. Boyce says:

    These are real, no-kidding-around terrorists. That the creature is out of office and that the FBI is now freed to take this right-wing threat seriously is a great step forward.

    • Norskieflamethrower says:

      Yes they are “not kidding around terrorists” and many have been tangled up with this militia stuff for years. This was a recon probe with smiles on their faces. And they got a whole bunch of intel on reaction times and onside support from the Capitol Police to the DC cops, and into the command structure of the “f**king United States Army. (my grandfather and my father along with many who didn’t make it home with me are rolling over in their graves. Some of the “veterans” of this movement go back decades through well funded and organized efforts begun for the long haul…are you familiar with the Kochs? And don’t try and engage me in distracting nonsense about evidence and sources, if you haven’t learned this over the last few years you haven’t been awake.

      • PeterS says:

        “And don’t try and engage me in distracting nonsense about evidence…”. Just today, or ever?

        I assume you didn’t really mean that.

        P.S. We can probably agree that “kidding around terrorists” are not a thing.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          Who in the hell is calling these terrorists “kidding around terrorists?” Distortion and obfuscation don’t become you. Buzz off.

  5. pdaly says:

    “the Proud Boys were using Baofeng radios set to frequency 477.985”

    I am not a radio user, so I checked the Baofeng website to see which type of radio service operates in this frequency.
    The only radio service that I could find that might use a 477+ Hz frequency is the PLMRS service, which I believe is reserved for public safety agencies, utilities, railroads, manufacturers.

    “Commercial, public safety, and government users must obtain an FCC license to use PLMRS radios. When you obtain a license, you’re assigned specific frequencies, and the radios you use must be used only on those frequencies. The radios require an FCC Part 90 certification, and are not programmable by end users.”
    https://baofengtech.com/which-two-way-radio-service-is-right-for-you/

    • pdaly says:

      But maybe radio services are not the same thing as the radio’s frequency transmission/reception capability?

      • harpie says:

        This is what Blaze said:

        Interesting. 477.985 is within TV RF channel 15, which is used by WFDC-DT, the DC Univision station (transmitter in Arlington). The TV station has a very strong signal, which would limit the range of any radio using that frequency, but also reduce the likelihood of interception.

        So this was either a dumb choice (because of the interference), or a smart choice (because of the interference).

        WFDC uses virtual channel 14, which how they identify. You have to know a fair bit about how to dig through FCC records to find out they transmit on RF channel 15. Since these folks are from out of town, I’m guessing “dumb choice”; they probably thought it was a clear channel.

        I don’t understand this stuff [AT ALL] but, one thought:
        They may be from out of town, but they also may have known someone at FCC.

        Also, Arlington has come up before as a hotel spot for Oath Keepers, and also the possible Quick Reaction Force sighting.

        • pdaly says:

          Using a radio in the Univision TV broadcast frequency is a detail that reminds me of the post-9/11 news stories reporting al Qaeda operatives were trained, as part of their operational security, to make calls in close proximity to transmission towers in order to hide in the noise.

          Their new choice of Univision’s frequency as their chat communication frequency looks like a deliberate operational security move and not a bumbling coincidence.

          I wonder whether there are federal penalties for broadcasting in the same frequency as Univision?

            • eyesoars says:

              They also take a dim view of unlicensed transmissions. Anyone can buy transceivers and receive with them; transmitting is a different matter. It’s hard to enforce, but if they’ve got evidence, they can prosecute.

        • Glacial Erratic says:

          The cheapest and most popular Baofeng is the UV-5R, which sells for under $25. It is capable of operating on the ham bands. Such use requires a license, and while it is doubtful that many insurrectionists complied with 47 CFR Part 90, the FCC database lets you look up licensees by name:
          https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAdvanced.jsp

          (The database also covers the license needed to use FRS (Family Radio Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) walkie-talkies. Baofeng radios also operate on those frequencies, though insurrectionists are even less likely to sign up for the required license for those services.)

          A thorough article about the place that the UV-5R and similar radios hold in the consciousness of right-wing militias is this one by Radiomaster Reports: https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/militia-radio-frequencies/

          It’s worth noting that on January 17, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory warning against the use of radio equipment in criminal acts that seems to be a response to the events of January 6:
          https://www.fcc.gov/document/amateur-personal-radio-users-reminded-not-use-radios-crimes

          The reference to encoded messages does not refer to encryption but to something as simple as the use of code words. 47 CFR § 97.113(a)(4) prohibits the transmission of “messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning.” Saying “I am going to Gstaad” as a way of informing folks that the perimeter has been breached is a no-no. (Nor does the Baofeng UV-5R have an “encryption” switch or the like.)

          I would not read anything into the PB use of any particular frequency. It sounds like each radio was programmed ahead of time by connecting it via hard wire to a computer running CHIRP. The UV-5R is very fiddly and slow to program by hand.

          • timbo says:

            That last part is interesting about a computer having possibly been involved. I wonder if there was one at the hotel that Stone was staying at…

            • harpie says:

              Now I’m remembering what Marcy tweeted:

              https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1372949451078270980
              12:33 PM · Mar 19, 2021

              […] As you read the Proud Boy’s conspiracy indictment, especially the bits about the concern that USG would immediately compromise Enrique Tarrio’s phone after his arrest, remember he was particularly worried they’d get into his laptop, not his phone. […]

        • Raven Eye says:

          I’m wondering if the PB’s 477.985 MHz was intended to allow a bit of a keyhole between the channel 15 477.250 video carrier and 481.750 audio carrier. Channel 15 spans 476 – 482 MHz. (In the adjacent land mobile UHF band (421-470 MHz) users are required to use 12.5 kHz or better efficiency technology.)

          If there is some room there, it might have been an OK idea. It’s in part of the spectrum not usually “scanned” for radio telephony, and any search would probably start by looking at wave forms first — the odd spike might look like a harmonic or some local artifact. The down side is that Boafengs are notorious for (1) lousy selectivity and (2) for wasting much of their transmission power on their own internal harmonics.

      • klynn says:

        Two items about the frequency and Univision transmitter. One, this use to be a Military channel. Two, a shared studio is right by the Capitol Bldg.

        Both notes may or may not be significant.

        • pdaly says:

          Definitely two worthy data points to keep in mind. Thanks!

          WRT my upthread comment about al Qaeda operational security, I’m recalling the efforts of Egyptian American double agent Ali Mohammed who, on the orders of Zawahiri, penetrated American Intelligence and stole the U.S. Army manuals that were then translated and used to train al Qaeda.

          “he [Ali Mohammed] worked briefly for CIA in Hamburg, Germany, before joining the U.S. Army, where he was stationed at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. The manuals he smuggled out of there became the foundation of al-Qaeda’s training and tactics.” -Lawrence Wright from “The Looming Tower,” pp. 428-429.

          So given the military background of these 1/6/21 planners, I assume their choice of communication frequency is informed and not casual.

    • Doug Fir says:

      Numerous UHF handheld fully programmable radios available, like this one from Baofeng (link broken):

      https://baofeng[LINK BREAK]tech.com/product/bf-f8hp/

      Speaking from experience some handheld radios are easily hacked to extend their operating frequencies (link broken):

      https://www.[LINK BREAK]mods.dk/

        • pdaly says:

          Thanks.

          I could be mistaken, but it seems the 477 mHz range for most privately owned radios would be set only to receive in this range and not transmit in the frequency, without some sort of hack.

          More from the baofeng website:

          “Private Land Mobile Radio Services is used by public safety agencies, utilities, railroads, manufacturers, and other businesses to meet many different communication needs.

          Frequencies include:
          30 −50 MHz (Low Band or Low VHF Band)
          150 −172 MHz (High Band or High VHF Band)
          450 − 470 MHz ( UHF). Some urban areas have additional UHF frequencies from 470 − 490 MHz, and 490 − 512 MHz”

          • Raven Eye says:

            Expanding the transmission range of over-the-counter transceivers can be done by either physical or software processes — or both. I’ve done it — legally. Books have been published.

            • BeingThere says:

              The radios they used her not necessarily to have been purchased in the US. If imported directly from the chinese manufacturer or overseas supplier they could be capable of Rx and Tx on frequency ranges/bands not permitted for public use by the FCC

              • Geoguy says:

                I made a comment about Baofeng radios at this post: THE PASSPORT AND THE ANTIFA HUNT:… dated 3/3/21. From the Wikipedia entry for List of Amateur Radio Transeivers: “Illegal marketing and distribution in the United States[edit]
                The FCC cited the Houston, Texas based importer Amcrest Industries which owns and operates Baofengradio US for illegally marketing UV-5R, “capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization,” the FCC Citation said, which is outside of its Part 90 authorization granted. The FCC asserts Amcrest marketed “UV-5R-series FM hand-held radios capable of transmitting on “restricted frequencies.” “Marketing a device that is “capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization,” is not allowed.[7]

                Raven Eye and others provided much more about these radios.

    • Tom R. says:

      1) It’s a slippery slope: Once a person starts engaging in assault, sedition, and murder, the next thing you know they’ll be frequency-bootlegging. Rest assured, these guys did not spend a lot of time worrying about FCC requirements as to frequencies and licenses.
      2) The radios they used are *not* mil spec. Far from it. They are a very old, low-performance design. They have been discontinued by the manufacturer, although you can still buy them super-cheaply. They can be programmed by the end-user to any frequency in certain broad ranges, legal or not. Better radios are far more programmable.
      3) These guys are not firmly grounded in reality. If they can’t figure out who won the election, don’t expect them to be radio-physics geniuses. By picking an illegal frequency, they guaranteed that you need something more than a Walkman or a CB radio to intercept their signal, but that’s not saying much. They seemed not to be aware that radio direction finding is a thing, and has been since before The Great War. The intelligence agencies are highly motivated to detect unauthorized transmissions coming from the DC area, and have been for 100 years. They can tell the difference between a handy-talkie on Pennsylvania Avenue and a Univision TV transmitter in Alexandria.

      Bottom line: These guys are exceedingly dangerous, but they’re not criminal masterminds.

  6. PeterS says:

    Leaving aside the evidence in the superseding indictment, isn’t the statement that Nordean’s release was “a remarkable stumble for prosecutors” a little hyperbolic (I’m referring to the WaPo’s words, not Marcy’s)? That was “only” about pretrial detention and it’s not as if he was then completely free. Or am I missing the point? 

    Also, I am bemused by this: “cops are the primary threat, don’t get caught by them or BLM, don’t get drunk until off the street.” BLM? Drunk?

    • P J Evans says:

      These are people who are sure that All Black Men are armed and dangerous, therefore BLM and antifa must be.

      • BeingThere says:

        BLM is also Bureau of Land Management, a sub agency of the Dept of Interior. On first reading that I’d first assumed the BLM policed some of the federal land in DC, but turns out they really only have land management in the western states.

    • subtropolis says:

      That was the evening of the 5th. They wanted to ensure that none of their guys were arrested before the big show.

      • Leoghann says:

        Not being arrested before the main act isn’t all. They’re all known to be big partiers, and several times the big, drunken mouth of one or another Proud Boi has gotten them into trouble. Some at the insurrection may be successful in claiming that they just got carried away by the crowd and the “enthusiasm,” but anyone heard at a bar on the night of the 5th, bragging about “listen to what WE have going down” was surely considered an express lane to the federal penitentiary.

  7. reader says:

    In the story above it doesn’t give the units for the 477.985 frequency. Is it kHz or MHz?

    Just to second what Glacial Erratic wrote, Baofeng radios are very inexpensive brand new and are popular first radios for many HAMs. You don’t need to prove you’re licensed to buy the radios.

  8. JAMES SCAMINACI says:

    Micah Loewinger and Hampton Stall in their January 13th Guardian article have a very interesting, but ambiguous paragraph that links Zello, Telegram, and “boots on the ground.”

    They identified the speaker on the Zello channel “DC 3.0” as Josh ELLIS, the administrator for mymilitia dot com using the alias “AmericanRev2.” On the DC 3.0 ELLIS says, “‘Once we go operational, this channel will just be for intel gathering and organizing on the backside … All information, once verified, will be put into the Telegram and then shared to boots on the ground from there.'”

    What he is saying is that Zello will be used for intelligence gathering (basically Situation Reports) and once the information is verified they will put that information into Telegram.

    The ambiguity is the phrase “boots on the ground.” That is a very common term in military and paramilitary circles. In fact, Loewinger and Stall had reported the very same phrase much earlier in two paragraphs on the militia’s use of Zello. Thus, it is quite possible that the significance of the phrase “boots on the ground” has escaped our attention.

    Perhaps, Ellis meant moving verified information from Zello to the “Boots on the Ground” channel. Perhaps, Ellis is the clue that “Boots on the Ground” is, in fact, a Telegram channel.

    Or, it simply means “boots on the ground.”

    But, if Ellis meant that “boots on the ground” is the Telegram channel “Boots on the Ground,” that is an indicator that Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and perhaps other militia groups like the Three Percenters were on a shared, communications network.

    Although, in reading the First Superseding Indictment for the Proud Boys, neither the FBI nor DOJ uses the word Telegram in the document. Proud Boys means of communicating are referred to as “encrypted message boards,” “encrypted chat messages,” “encrypted communications,” “encrypted messaging applications,” “encrypted messaging application,” and “encrypted messaging channels.”

    Given that the FBI is interrogating Unindicted Co-Conspirator-1 who is the Proud Boys communications handler, perhaps that is a fact (Telegram) the FBI is keeping under wraps.

    But, I’m thinking you may be right that the encrypted channel or messaging application is Telegram.

    In government filings using the word “Telegram” it usually refers to activity before January 6th or a reference to a personal account on Telegram or posting a photo/video to Telegram. To my knowledge, Telegram is not linked to the Proud Boys as a group or network at the Capitol.

  9. Robert Swartz says:

    I wonder, since those PLRS radios are supposed to be restricted to authorized users, do the sellers keep a record of serial numbers and purchasers? That could make for some interesting reading…

  10. Sam Penrose says:

    “Ochs has a superb defense attorney, Edward McMahon”: Marcy’s averred importance of attorney skill is an implicit indictment of the justice system. Insofar as proceedings are determined, not by the evidence and the law, but by the ability of advocates, those proceedings an are exercise of arbitrary power (the advocates’), not of justice.

    • bmaz says:

      This is pure and unadulterated bullshit. Yes, some lawyers are better than others, that is life, NOT an “indictment of the justice system. Your statement is just pure claptrap. I have spent now the better part of my life in courtrooms, mostly trial, but appellate too, and I am here to tell that most all cases are decided on the facts and law. The justice system is certainly imperfect, but no justice system ever could be perfect. And, by the way, yes Ed McMahon is very good. But so too are most of the attorneys assigned and retained in these cases.

      And before you yammer that a private atty like McMahon is far better than court appointed attys, FPDs and CJA Panel attys are uniformly excellent.

      • Sam Penrose says:

        Pound that table, counselor! Searching this website for “serious|real lawyer|attorney” returns dozens of comments. Here’s one from Marcy: “Nor is it surprising that McFarland was able to clear up her testimony …. She’s got a serious attorney, Robert Giuffra.” Marcy asserts that having a “serious” attorney (note that she cites his name, as if to say that serious attorneys are few enough that she can keep track of them) was material to McFarland’s avoiding legal jeopardy. By implication, having a no-name lawyer would have risked it. Then there is this: “I assume that all the white guys with better credentials than mine got in, so it’s fair to guess that I would have graduated at least 10th if not for those really smart women. As it happened, it didn’t affect my ability to get a great job with a brilliant mentor, Stanley Schwartz, who taught me how to be a real lawyer.” https://www.emptywheel.net/2015/11/28/the-costs-of-equal-opportunity-in-a-neoliberal-economy/ . By implication, a merely decent mentor might have left her a lesser contributor. I think this is an important issue that Marcy is right to call attention to. How many times in her exhaustive reporting on Trump administration has she said that the choice of attorney makes a difference in matters of law and state? Your quarrel is with her, not me.

        • vvv says:

          Let me point out that your writing “a merely decent mentor might have left her a lesser contributor” seems to indicate that you missed that the author of that article was Mr. Ed Walker, not Dr. Wheeler.

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