….“On Nov. 16, 2017, the FBI briefed those of us who were at the field that day,” Wenstrup said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing featuring FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Much to our shock that day, the FBI concluded that this was a case of the attacker seeking suicide by cop.”
“We were just astonished,” Wenstrup told me in a recent conversation. “We just went, ‘What?’ I said, ‘There’s no way. If you want to commit suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop.’”
Hodgkinson had obviously done much, much more than that. and the suicide by cop theory made even less sense in light of the fact that the Capitol Police who were at the baseball field that day — the security detail for Scalise, a member of the House leadership — were sitting in an unmarked vehicle, wearing plain clothes. Hodkinson would not have known they were police.
Wenstrup also noted that the FBI had not interviewed the members — the victims — in this case. They never interviewed Duncan, who had actually spoken to the shooter. “I asked (the FBI), ‘Who did you talk to?’” Wenstrup recalled. “They took my number, called me the next day. I called them back, and never heard from them again.”
At the hearing, Wenstrup noted that, “Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published products labeling this attack as a domestic violent extremism event specifically targeting Republican members of Congress. The FBI did not. The FBI still has not.”
Now, in light of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which is widely referred to as domestic terrorism, Wenstrup wonders what the FBI was doing. The attack “could have been a massacre,” Wenstrup noted. “The attacker may have believed he could change the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives in one morning.”
The unanswered question in all this is why the FBI, at the time under the leadership of acting Director Andrew McCabe, did what it did. Even at that time, the bureau was warning Americans of the danger posed by domestic terrorists. and yet the FBI refused to publicly recognize a clear act of domestic terrorism. Was some sort of Trump-era bias involved? Was it bureaucratic infighting? Something else? It’s time the victims in the case — and also the country as a whole — got some answers.