Meet the Watchdogs Exposing the Capitol Rioters

Capitol Terrorists Exposers has been quietly supplying information to a number of major news outlets

Max Ufberg
GEN
Published in
5 min readFeb 19, 2021

--

Men belonging to the Oath Keepers at the Capitol on January 6. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Over the past few days, a number of outlets, including the New York Times and the New Yorker, have published bombshell investigations identifying rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 as members of far-right factions, military veterans, and in some cases, former security detail for Trump ally Roger Stone. In those pieces, reporters cited the research done by Capitol Terrorists Exposers, an online group that monitors the far-right, as being instrumental in the identification process. Little else is known about the loosely organized collective, though it appears they’ve quietly been a key source of information on one of the most significant stories of our time.

GEN tracked down one of the group’s co-founders, a Europe-based researcher who agreed to an interview on condition of anonymity.

GEN: How did the group come together?

Capitol Terrorists Exposers: My co-founder and I started on Twitter because we were looking at this video of Oath Keepers going up the stairs on the east side of the Capitol. We were just talking and having public Twitter conversations. We were like, “Okay, we have to figure out who these guys are.” But we felt like it wasn’t appropriate to throw names out in the open, so we started this private chat on Twitter. And then two more people entered the chat, and the next morning, another two. We felt like we needed a better medium, so we created the Discord server.

How did you get in touch with journalists at the New Yorker and the New York Times?

My co-founder got in touch with [Times reporter] Christiaan Triebert, and he ended up joining our server. He’s been working closely with us ever since.

And what about Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker? How did you get him involved?

He had been involved in IDing this lieutenant colonel from Florida, Larry Brock. So we got in touch with him and shared our findings.

Why are you so passionate about identifying these people?

--

--

Max Ufberg
GEN
Writer for

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired