After the June 11 2022 arrests of 31 Patriot Front extremists in a U-Haul near a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Pride event, the far right began its usual “false flag” claims on social media, this time with rumors that the members of Patriot Front were FBI
— Rookie (@DogRightGirl) June 12, 2022
Patriot Front = FBI pic.twitter.com/nsPY5qD1gM
— Real Patriot 911 (yes, I'm an asshole)😆😆 (@ReelPatriot911) June 13, 2022
Accounts pushing the conspiracy theory shared links to RedState.com’s “31 Members of ‘Patriot Front’ AstroTurf White Nationalist Group Arrested in Coeur d’Alene for Conspiracy to Riot,” and another site’s “Another Staged FBI Event? Feds Bust ‘Patriot Front’ Members For Planned Riot in Idaho.”
Twitchy.com’s “Is THAT an FBI bullhorn a cop took from that Patriot Front dude because gosh, golly and gee, it sure LOOKS like an FBI bullhorn (pic)” speculated:
Take a gander at the bullhorn the cop appears to have taken from the Patriot Front dude he arrested … do you see the sticker there? NOW, could this be them mocking people for claiming they’re all feds and not just a bunch of losers who can’t quite get enough protein powder who are easily infiltrated by law enforcement? Sure.
Then again, it also might be another glaring clue into who and what this Patriot Front group really is.
All 31 arrestees were identified alongside mugshots, and the individual with the “FBI bullhorn” was identified as Kieran Morris:
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) June 11, 2022
A search for the name “Kieran Morris” and “Patriot Front” turned up a number of anti-fascist’ posts and tweets from 2020, when Morris was previously identified as a “network director” for Patriot Front:
Say hello to Kieran Morris, Patriot Front's Network Director in NY, NJ, and PA. Kieran got his start in fascism on the Nazi #IronMarch website where he begged the founder of Atomwaffen to join the group. Hi, @ForwardPatriots, stay the hell out of NYC.https://t.co/AQzNWcolce pic.twitter.com/zjj59oQe5R
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) March 14, 2020
An entry on a “NYC Antifa” blog described Morris and his involvement with extremist groups, indicating that he had moved to Texas in 2021. A January 2022 blog post by antifascists in Texas further tracked Morris’ activity and new location:
The openly fascist organization, Patriot Front, was founded by Thomas Rousseau in the aftermath of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in which anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was murdered by James Alex Fields, Jr. Fields, who marched alongside Rousseau in the now defunct neo-Nazi group Vanguard America is serving two life sentences for deliberately driving his vehicle into a group of counter-protesters at the rally, killing one and injuring dozens. Patriot Front is an SPLC designated hate group.
Recently, antifascist activists revealed Rousseau’s new address in a live interview with the petite leader. Local activists were able to locate and confirm the residence of Thomas Ryan Rousseau, Graham Jones Whitson, and Kieran Morris in Haslet, Texas. Whitson and Morris’ vehicles were clearly visible in the driveway of the property.
On June 13 2022, Coeur d’Alene Chief of Police Lee White spoke at a press conference about the Patriot Front U-Haul arrests over the weekend. White disclosed that the department had been receiving death threats from all over the world and addressed questions about whether any of the men were law enforcement informants.
Let me be very, very clear. Let me be very clear here, these were not law enforcement officers that we arrested — these were members of the hate group Patriot Front. These were not antifa in disguise, nor were they FBI in disguise.
White’s reference to “antifa in disguise” echoed a July 2020 rumor that anti-fascists planned to use U-Hauls as a tool to “infiltrate” the suburbs:
Much of the rumor seemed to hinge on the image of Morris being arrested, along with the “FBI bullhorn” seen in many iterations. However, another anti-fascist account pointed out that Morris’ “FBI bullhorn” in fact read “abolish [the] FBI”:
The idea that FBI agents put large stickers on their megaphones is laughable on its face but extra funny is that the sticker is actually reads “ABOLISH THE FBI.” 😂🤡 2/ pic.twitter.com/avRS71rEOL
— Miami Against Fascism 🌴☕️ (@MIAagainstFash) June 13, 2022
Disinformation about the Patriot Front U-Haul arrests in Idaho on June 11 2022 included claims that the FBI sticker on the bullhorn “proved” that the FBI had staged the arrests, although no particular motive seemed to be attached to that popular far-right narrative. Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White directly addressed that rumor on June 13 2022 — and Morris is a known associate of fascist and white supremacist groups who has been tracked by anti-fascists since at least March 2020. Further, Morris’ “FBI bullhorn” actually read “abolish [the] FBI.” Finally, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is known for many things, but its branding and merchandising are not among them.