‘Unindicted Co-Conspirator’ Named in Proud Boys Case May Be FBI Informant
Federal prosecutors have described how an encrypted messaging channel named “Boots on the Ground” was created for Proud Boys communications in Washington DC on January 6th that grew to include more than 60 users, including an individual identified by the government as “Unindicted Co-Conspirator 1.” The unindicted co-conspirator seems to speak with authority in a message to “Boots on the Ground” and to a separate “New MOSD” channel on the evening of January 5th, which came a day after Enrique Tarrio, the organization’s national chairman, was arrested on charges of property destruction and banned from DC.
That unindicted co-conspirator involved in the Proud Boys’ planning that led to the siege of the US Capitol has now been identified as Aaron Whallon-Wolkind, the former vice president of the nationalistic pro-Trump street gang’s Philadelphia chapter. His identity as the unindicted co-conspirator was first reported by Alan Feuer, a reporter for the New York Times.
“Stand by for the shared baofeng channel and shared zello channel, no Colors, be decentralized and use good judgement until further orders,” the unindicted co-conspirator wrote at 9:09 p.m. on January 5th, according to the government. “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.” “Rufio” is the nickname for Ethan Nordean, a Washington State member who faces conspiracy charges as part of a quartet of Proud Boy leaders that also includes Zachary Rehl, who is the president of the Philadelphia chapter, along with Joseph Biggs and Charles Donohoe.
Nicholas Smith, Nordean’s lawyer, told a federal judge during a hearing on Thursday that he wanted the government to disclose the name of the unindicted co-conspirator. “The reason it’s important is that if it’s who we think it is, there’s public information showing this person was at one point a government informant,” Smith said. “The government is relying on his statement to keep the defendants detained.”
The person known as Unindicted Co-conspirator 1 in the Proud Boy leadership case is Aaron Whallon-Wolkind, the vice president of the Philly chapter of the Proud Boys, according to two people familiar w/the matter. https://t.co/kwQ67QFolx
— Alan Feuer (@alanfeuer) July 15, 2021
Whallon-Wolkind was also identified as a high-profile user of the right-wing app Telegram with the screen name “Aaron PB.” He wrote to another user named “Zack Pb” in January 2019: “I know, another chat, but this one is for info we want to send our FBI contact. Specifically, he wants things we can tie to criminal activity.”
We would also appreciate leads on these Proud Boys (photographed at the Dec 12 2020 “Stop the Steal Rally” in DC). We’ve already identified Zach Rehl and Aaron Whallon-Wolkind, but are still working on the others. pic.twitter.com/1ytymg68kY
— CROH Lehigh Valley (@crohlv) February 22, 2021
FBI Director Christopher Wray lamented in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March that the agency did not have better intelligence about the Proud Boys in the lead-up to the January 6th siege, saying, “We are focused very, very hard on how we can get better sources, better information, better analysis.” But there’s an extensive history of Proud Boys maintaining contact with the FBI and feeding agents information about antifascists adversaries prior to January 6th that included Joseph Biggs.