- Dec 11, 2018
Law enforcement agencies trying to track down insurrectionists who participated in yesterday's events at the US Capitol have a wide array of tools at their disposal thanks to the ubiquity of cameras and social media.
Both local police and the FBI are seeking information about individuals who were "actively instigating violence" in Washington, DC, on January 6. While media organizations took thousands of photos police can use, they also have more advanced technologies at their disposal to identify participants, following what several other agencies have done in recent months.
With all of that said, however, the DC Metropolitan Police and the FBI will probably need to look no further than a cursory Google search to identify many of the leaders of Wednesday's insurrection, as many of them took to social media both before and after the event to brag about it in detail. In short: you don't need fancy facial recognition tools to identify people who livestream their crimes.
Local media outlets around the country have easily identified several other participants, including Adam Christian Johnson, the Florida man who grinned and waved to the camera after he stole the lectern from the House floor. Arkansas resident Richard Barnett, the man who put his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) desk to pose for a photo before stealing a piece of her mail, gave an interview to his local CBS affiliate about his participation in the mob.
West Virginia state legislator Derrick Evans used Facebook to livestream himself storming the Capitol as part of the mob, as did well-known white nationalist personality Tim Gionet (also known as Baked Alaska).
Although Evans later deleted the video, that won't help him: not only are Facebook and other platforms subject to subpoenas and search warrants, but individuals and groups have been making plentiful copies and backups to preserve evidence.