There Were 60 Proud Boy “Boots on the Ground” on January 6; Around 23 Have Been Arrested

According to the conspiracy indictment against Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, and others, the Proud Boys used two Telegram channels to organize their January 6 insurrection: a “New MOSD” channel that seems to have been used by top leadership, and a “Boots on the Ground” channel for “Proud Boys members in Washington, D.C.” DOJ didn’t say how many people were members of the former, presumably smaller, channel. But the Boots on the Ground channel had over 60 members.

On January 5, 2021, at 1:23 p.m., a new encrypted messaging channel entitled “Boots on the Ground” was created for communications by Proud Boys members in Washington, D.C. In total, over sixty users participated in the Boots on the Ground channel, including NORDEAN, BIGGS, REHL, DONOHOE, and [an unindicted co-conspirator]. Shortly after the channel’s creation, BIGGS posted a message to the channel that read: “We are trying to avoid getting into any shit  tonight. Tomorrow’s the day” and then “I’m here with rufio and a good group[.]”

While this doesn’t say that every subscriber to the channel participated in the insurrection, surely people who subscribed in the less than 24 hours between the channel creation and the insurrection itself were closely tied to those events.

When I finish updates to this post listing all the random Proud Boys who’ve been charged individually in addition to the 14 charged in one of the four Proud Boy conspiracy cases, I’ll have 23 people who either identify as Proud Boys or operated with them on January 6. That’s consistent with GWU’s very useful report on participants, which showed 20 Proud Boys before about 3 more arrests.

That means there may be as many as 40 more Proud Boys who were actively involved in preparations for January 6 who remain at large. That’s consistent with the videos of large mobs of people marching together through DC that day.

If DOJ knows there were over 60, they presumably have names — either real or monikers — for them, possibly with device information as well.

59 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    Were all of the 60 necessarily Proud Boys and not members of one of the allied groups or even unaffiliated conspirators?

  2. Eureka says:

    Related to these tiers/ comms, the end of paragraph 48 remains confusing where Donohoe asks Biggs for the plan to share w the MOSD guys (post leaders/ Tarrio talk) and Biggs tells Donohoe that Biggs told Tarrio the plan and that Tarrio (also) has a plan. (1) What is Tarrio’s (separate) plan? (2) Superficially, this seems like a non-answer but could mean something else.

    But also Biggs was already posting this stuff on New MOSD so why does Donohoe need to pass it on to the MOSD guys (was Donohoe physically present with them? were some lacking radios? just being needy)? Or maybe Donohoe meant to say Boots on the Ground.


    • harpie says:

      [Putting this here so we can talk about it…] [It takes place on 1/5] [hopefully I got all the capitalization and punctuation right]:

      [p11] 48. At 9:17 p.m., BIGGS posted a message on New MOSD that read “We just had a meeting woth [sic] a lot of guys. Info should be coming out” and then posted “Just spoke with [first name of Proud Boys Chairman.]” At approximately 9:20 p.m., BIGGS posted a message that read, “We have a plan. I’m with rufio.” DONOHOE responded, “What’s the plan so I can pass it to the MOSD guys.” BIGGS responded, “I gave [first name of Proud Boys Chairman] a plan. The one I told the guys and he said he had one.”

      • Overhood Underwood says:

        I wonder if that last word “one” was intended to actually be “done”? So Biggs’s intent there would be to say that he already shared a plan with “the MOSD guys” and that plan was the one that the Chairman had put together. One plan, not two.

  3. holdingsteady says:

    This is off topic but back to the thread about people lost to Covid, comments were closed.
    I’d like to request my comments about dear sister be erased please. I feel terribly embarrassed on my sisters behalf.
    Thanks for all you do

      • madwand says:

        My swag for MOSD is Mobile Opsec Division or the leaders. But I think the first letter is mobile because it would link back to Stone who was very mobile in his golf cart, just a silly wild ass guess.

    • harpie says:

      I mean members as opposed to “NORMIES”, as described in the court filing to oppose NORDEAN’s release:

      As noted in the United States’ Motion for Stay of the Release Order (Docket Entry 6), Defendant [NORDEAN] had a brief exchange with a bat-wielding Robert GIESWEIN [Boebert and Three Percenter connection] who would later rally to a location where Proud Boy Dominic PEZZOLA broke open a window with a riot shield that Pezzola took from an officer while in the west plaza. The use of non-Proud Boys like Gieswein was discussed among Proud Boys who planned to attend the rally. Certain Proud Boys privy to plans for the event discussed their hope to turn the “normies,” or “normiecons”6 loose on January 6, 2021—to incite and inspire them to “burn that city to ash today” and “smash some pigs to dust.”
      [footnote: 6 This appears to be a reference to Trump supporters who are not otherwise affiliated with the Proud Boys or a militia group.]

      The tactic was also seemingly used in QANON:
      8:02 AM · Oct 7, 2020

      • gulageten says:

        That would make sense. Google suggested Multiple Origins Single Destination, but then I posted here instead of digging further (ha)

    • Leoghann says:

      In military parlance, which fits with what the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are cosplaying, MOSD stands for Mission, Objectives and Strategy Document. So that channel was conceived to be for discussion of mission, strategy, and objectives. That fits perfectly with “don’t get drunk until you get to the house.”

      • harpie says:

        THANKS! That sounds right.
        I’m sorry to have taken up so much room with my wildarsed guess.

        The new channel is “New MOSD”.
        Is it really possible that the first channel DONOHOE tried to “nuke” was just plain “MOSD”?

      • madwand says:

        Most likely something along those lines, also wondering who Rufio is hadn’t seen him identified in this.

        • pdaly says:

          The Conspiracy indictment (first link in the original post) lists Ethan Nordean along with his alias “Rufio Panman.”

          I assume this is the Rufio referred to in the messages between Biggs and Donohoe.

  4. harpie says:

    NYT has a new visual investigation out today:
    6:21 AM · Mar 21, 2021

    NEW: Hear and see what it was like for officers as they engaged in hand to hand combat with Trump supporters on the Capitol steps and tried to “hold the line” in the hopes of stopping them from breaching the Capitol.
    The police had never been in such sustained hand to hand combat in the U.S. […]

    The piece shows how unprepared the officers were, how ruthless the Trump supporters were, and how repeated calls for backup went largely unheeded. [LINK]

    • subtropolis says:

      I’ll add that it shows how ignorant it was for so many to claim that the police just let the mob waltz right inside.

    • harpie says:

      Tarrio had to stay out of ONLY DC.

      Again I’m wondering where [what hotel] all those Proud Boys stayed on 1/5, and where BIGGS was when he said: “I’m here with rufio and a good group[.]”

    • harpie says:
      [I’m not sure if all the Questions are asked by Fischer]

      Q: What do you say to your supporters?
      TARRIO: That I love them. Thank you for supporting me and thank you for your continued support. And we’re going to continue pressing forward.

      Q: What do you mean, press forward? What does that mean?
      T: We’re gonna keep fighting.
      Q: Fighting for what?
      T: The same thing we’ve been fighting for this whole time. For this fucked up election, for the tyranny, for picking me up, ah, just exactly like they did with Roger Stone. They picked me up with like seven patrol cars for a misdemeanor. They shut down the entire bridge. Pulled me out of the car at gunpoint, for a misdemeanor. So, we’re gonna keep fighting. I don’t need to be in DC to keep the fight going.

      Q: Sir, how are you going to get out of DC tonight?
      T: I have no idea.

      Red Coat Woman [to Tarrio]: Diane’s really worried about you too. She was just here.
      T: OK. Get my other number down. [he enters something into her phone]

      Q: Enrique …time with the President while you’re here?
      RCW: The President’s gonna pardon him.
      T: Absolutely not. […]

      LOL! He compares himself to STONE.

  5. PeterS says:

    Slightly o/t: I’m not sure that Yvonne St Cyr has been mentioned here. She drove from Idaho to Washington DC in order to Stop the Steal and did indeed end up inside the Capitol. I think she is facing trespassing charges. 

    The reason I found her noteworthy is that according to her own uploaded video she was half-hoping/expecting to witness on January 6 the replacement of Mike Pence as Vice President by …. JFK Jr. 

    Did I mention she’s a QAnon follower? I have a certain fascination for these people; who needs UFOs and space aliens when you can study a different form of “intelligent life” right now.

    • P J Evans says:

      I wish they could explain how they think the elected VP (or any other serving elected official) can be replaced by *anyone else* without an election.

    • laMissy says:

      Someplace, I read why QAnon has the feels for JFK Jr.
      Hillary tried to have him killed off in the airplane crash because he was going to run against her for president. But Hillary failed and he’s been in hiding ever since, waiting for the chance to reveal himself.

      • MB says:

        I’ve heard the JFK Jr. theory, but QAnon definitely has the feels for RFK, Jr. because he has become the #1 public figure for all things anti-vax. That’s what he has morphed into after a decade or so of good work with environmental causes…

      • PeterS says:

        According to my intensive research (though no anal probes were used) JFK Jr was thought to be Q, and in any event was definitely in league with Trump.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Celebrity dead folks make the best props – as they do singing partners for duets. They make great clickbait, and association with them implies an aproval they can no longer deny.

        I’m pretty sure Jr would have denied the Q association with vehemence. For one thing, they are the sort of rightwing zealots who would have cheered his father’s death. And I’m pretty sure he would disagree with his cousin about vaccines.

        • PeterS says:

          Just in case anyone is interested, another theory is that “they” tried to kill him because he was about to reveal the truth about his father’s death (but he magically survived, or faked, the crash, went into hiding, has been secretly supporting Trump etc.).


    Sorry, commented on the wrong article previously.

    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.

    • Tom R. says:

      1) The indictment (page 10) states that “Boots on the Ground” is the name of a channel.
      2) Among the familiar encrypted messaging apps, Telegram is the only one with a “channel” feature.
      3) It is widely reported that the Proud Boys often use Telegram.
      4) There is a longstanding policy that indictments should not name persons who don’t need to be named. Hence absurd circumlocutions such as “Individual 1” who ran an “ultimately successful campaign for president”. So we should not read anything into the fact that Telegram is not mentioned by name.
      5) Bottom line: We can infer with high confidence that Telegram is the app the indictment is talking about.

    • bmaz says:

      I know the Sherwin comments on 60 Minutes are getting an absolute ton of play. They should not be, and should be taken with a giant shaker of salt. Sherwin was Barr and Trump’s hand picked guy, and now that he is out in favor of Channing Phillips, Sherwin is looking to do some reputation rehab. He should not have been gabbing on 60 Minutes, it was improper. At least Weissmann waited until the investigation he was involved in previous to leaving service was over. But Sherwin is out on a media tour, with his investigation still in its nascent stage.

        • bmaz says:

          That is clearly true, but such a final decision needed fuller workup and input of a confirmed Garland. My problem is with Sherwin running around and gabbing.

        • Fran of the North says:

          As ever, your insights for the law-lay are much appreciated. I see only leaves, while others see trees, forests or ecosystems.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          “My problem is with Sherwin running around and gabbing.” Yes but the Rosenstein model appears more and more frequently in the last 75years, the prototype, adroit justice “survivor” whose numbers increase over time in both party administrations. Sherwin fits this model perfectly. I don’t know how you get rid of ’em now without dismantling the entire professional structure and culture. Sigh

      • Badger Robert says:

        It was improper.
        But it does get idea of possible sedition into the popular culture.
        It may serve to create additional pressure on the conspirators to make deals.
        Sherwin may want a gig as a TV commentator. DoJ is probably watching with respect to any attempt to get hired by a white collar crime defense firm.

        • timbo says:

          Hmm. Or maybe it’s fishing for more leaks from FBI/DoJ similar to the leaking in 2016 that forced Comey to say things he’d rather have not? That is, if you can get folks inside the US FBI and DoJ to deny or agree with such comments, anonymously, or forced publicly although reluctantly, against sound practice, that leads to the political strife that causes increased chaos and uncertainty.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Like millions of potential jurors, I saw that interview too. I found it appalling. Sherwin was supposed to be prosecuting cases that are still very much open. I couldn’t help wondering if what seemed like poor impulse control was actually a planned attempt to undermine DOJ and DC, now that Sherwin’s out of it. It made me wonder what else he’s been up to. And of course 60 Minutes *would* broadcast that nonsense. For all the valuable journalism they do, they can’t help themselves when it comes to stuff like this.

  7. harpie says:

    1:10 PM TRUMP’s speech ends
    1:11 PM MPD arrives at the west front of the Capitol after being requested by USCP
    [NYT calls it a BRAWL]
    [3:12] 1:16 PM GLOVER is already calling in multiple injuries
    [5:00] 1:44 PM

    [Crowd: Stop the Steal! Stop the Steal!]
    NYT: It’s been almost an hour since Glover and his team were called to the scene. The help they need isn’t arriving. But the crowd keeps coming. The crowd penetrates the scaffolding.
    GLOVER “Cruiser 50. They are behind our lines! If I give this up, they’re gonna have direct access. We gotta hold what we have!”

    1:49 PM SUND requests URGENT aid from WALKER
    2:22 PM [DOD TIMELINE] SECARMY phone call with DC Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Dr. Rodriguez, and MPD leadership to discuss the current situation and to request additional DCNG support.
    [7:10] 2:28 PM [lower terrace]

    NYT: At 2:28 PM sections of the police line are beginning to buckle. Then, other parts of the line give way.
    [Man in crowd: Push! Push! PUSH!]
    GLOVER: “Cruiser 50. lost the line! We’ve lost the line!”
    NYT: The crowd swarms the lower terrace. Some surround the police.
    Officers are attacked.
    [Man in crowd: TRAITOR!
    [Man in crowd: God’s gonna judge every one of y’all.]
    NYT: Glover finally has no choice but to order his officers to retreat.
    GLOVER: “All MPD pull back up to the upper deck! All MPD pull back to the upper deck ASAP! Upper deck!”
    [Man in crowd: Shame, shame, shame. Walk of shame! Walk of shame!]
    [Another man in crowd: Get their helmets off. Get the helmets off.]
    GLOVER: “Cruiser 50. We’re flanked. 10-33. I repeat 10-33 west front of the Capitol. We have been flanked and we’ve lost the line!”
    [Man in crowd: [?]…this shit!]
    NYT: 10-33 means Glover is calling for immediate emergency assistance. All hands.
    Dispatcher: “Have all units respond to assist him. Do what we’re trained to do!”
    Dispatcher: “Ask all military and sworn officers to come to the Capitol.”
    [Crowd: USA! Chants in crowd]

    2:30 PM [DOD TIMELINE] A/SD, CJCS, and SECARMY meet to discuss USCP and Mayor Bowser’s requests.
    3:00 PM [DOD TIMELINE] A/SD determines all available forces of the DCNG are required to reinforce MPD and USCP positions to support efforts to reestablish security of the Capitol complex.
    4:32 PM MILLER approves deployment of NG to CAPITOL
    5:08 PM WALKER receives approval from MILLER
    WALKER deploys NG
    5:30 PM [At or about] NG arrive at the CAPITOL

Comments are closed.