Documents from FBI and DOJ on the infiltration of Austin Affinity Group
2 documents, one a press release from the Department of Justice, and the other an affidavit of FBI special agent Christopher Langert, detailing the use of confidential informants to entrap Crowder and Mckay.
2. In February 2007, a confidential human source (“CHS 1”) who has been working with the FBI since November 2007, and who has a proven track record of reliability, began providing the FBI in San Antonio, Texas, with information regarding the activities of a group of individuals involved in planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention (“RNC”).
3. The group of Texas individuals on whom the source was reporting has been named by law enforcement officials as the Austin Area Affinity Group (“the Affinity Group”).
Download the Documents here:
Corporate Media Article:
The affidavit is copied below:
STATE OF MINNESOTA ) AFFIDAVIT OF SPECIAL AGENT
) ss. CHRISTOPHER LANGERT
COUNTY OF HENNEPIN )
1. I am a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I have been so employed for 10 years. This affidavit is based on
personal knowledge as well as information related to me by other
2. In February 2007, a confidential human source (“CHS 1”) who has
been working with the FBI since November 2007, and who has a proven
track record of reliability, began providing the FBI in San
Antonio, Texas, with information regarding the activities of a
group of individuals involved in planning to disrupt the Republican
National Convention (“RNC”).
3. The group of Texas individuals on whom the source was reporting
has been named by law enforcement officials as the Austin Area
Affinity Group (“the Affinity Group”). Bradley Neal Crowder has
been identified through CHS reporting as a leader of the Austin
Affinity Group. David McKay has been identified as a member of the
Austin Affinity Group.
4. In May 2008, CHS 1 reported that Crowder attended a meeting in
Minneapolis where numerous individuals from across the United
States met to discuss preparations for protesting and disrupting
5. CHS 1 reported that, on August 28, 2008, eight members of the
Affinity Group left Austin, Texas in a rented white passenger van.
The group had a trailer attached to the van. The FBI learned
through investigation of the rental company that the van was rented
by a known member of the Affinity Group and that the reservation to
rent the van was made by Crowder. CHS 1 reported that the trailer
was rented by group members David McKay and Bradley Crowder. CHS
1 also reported that the group was holding 35 shields inside the
6. CHS 1 reported that these shields were assembled by taking
stolen traffic barrels, cutting them in half, painting them black,
cutting out a rectangular area that was fitted with plexiglass to
allow the user of the shield to see through the shield, and then
securing the plexiglass to the shield with four screws. The screws
were placed in the shield so that the screw tips protruded from the
shield to allow the shield to be used as a weapon. CHS 1 reported
that the group discussed using these shields to attack police
officers. The FBI has observed one of these shields, which matches
CHS 1’s description of the devices. St. Paul Police seized 34
shields, that fit CHS 1’s description from the group’s trailer on
August 31, 2008.
7. CHS 1 reported that, following the seizure of these shields by
police, Crowder, McKay and others went to Walmart to purchase
“gear” and bolt cutters. CHS 1 learned from another member of the
Austin Affinity Group that McKay and others went to purchase a gas
container and tampons. Law enforcement officers have learned by
reviewing surveillance video tapes at Walmart that on August 31,
2008, Crowder, McKay and other members of the Austin Affinity Group
went to Walmart, located at 1450 University Avenue, St. Paul, and
purchased, among other things, the following items: a two-gallon
gas can, tampons, motor-oil, a package of rubber bands, ear plugs,
a pair of bolt cutters, a bike helmet and elbow pads. The group
entered the store at approximately 8:50 p.m. and members of the
group exited between 9:01 p.m. and 9:16 p.m on.
8. Your affiant knows that tampons, oil, rubber bands and gas
containers are commonly used in the construction of Molotov
cocktails. Specifically, your affiant is aware that tampons are
commonly used as wicks for Molotov cocktails, that gas containers
are used to store fuel for use in gas containers, that rubber bands
are one method used to affix a wick (such as a tampon) to the side
of a Molotov cocktail and that oil is commonly mixed with gas in
the construction of Molotov cocktails to increase the flammability
of the fuel and to allow the fuel to stick to whatever it hits.
9. On the morning of September 1, 2008, CHS 1 reported to law
enforcement that another member of the Affinity Group told CHS 1
that items purchased from Walmart were being stored at an apartment
in St. Paul. Law enforcement officers have learned that the lessee
of the apartment is affiliated with the Affinity Group.
10. Later on September 1, 2008, an FBI surveillance operations
group member who was familiar with McKay’s and Crowder’s
appearances, observed both Crowder and McKay entering and exiting
the St. Paul residence described previously.
11. Late on September 1, 2008, CHS 1 reported to law enforcement
that McKay informed CHS 1 that there were eight assembled Molotov
cocktails in the basement of the residence. McKay called the
devices “shrimp cocktails,” and informed CHS 1 that the fuel
contained in the devices was made up of one-third gas, one-third
motor oil, and one-third tomato juice. McKay also told CHS 1 that
the devices were hidden in the basement of the residence where
McKay was staying.
12. On September 1, 2008, a second Confidential Human Source (“CHS
2") who has been working with your affiant for the past five
months, and has been found to be extremely reliable, met with McKay
at a Dayton Street apartment in St. Paul, Minnesota. The apartment
at which CHS 2 met McKay is rented by a woman affiliated with the
Affinity Group. Officers have learned of the link between the
lessee and the Affinity group through human source reporting and a
statement made by the woman to members of St. Paul Police on
September 3, 2008.
13. This meeting between CHS 2 and McKay was captured by
consensual audio and video surveillance. During their meeting,
McKay told CHS 2 that his name was “David,” that he had a falling
out with other members of his group, and that he and a couple other
individuals were going to conduct “Red Actions” on September 2.
McKay also told CHS 2 that McKay had been arrested and released on
September 1 and that his friend had been arrested and was scheduled
to be released at 8:00 a.m. on September 2, 2008. McKay also
invited CHS 2 to accompany him to conduct “Red Actions.”
14. The FBI has learned through independent investigation that
McKay was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct then released
by St. Paul Police on September 1, 2008. The FBI has also learned
through independent investigation that Crowder was arrested for
disorderly conduct on September 1, 2008, and remains in custody.
15. On September 2, 2008, CHS 1 and McKay met. During the course
of their conversation McKay used coded language to disguise the
nature of the subjects of their conversation. During their
conversation, which was transmitted to law enforcement officers via
electronic surveillance equipment, McKay told CHS 1 that he [McKay]
and Crowder manufactured several molotov cocktails together. McKay
said that the Molotov cocktails consisted of half gasoline and half
motor oil, with tampons as wicks. McKay told CHS 1 that the wicks
were soaked in lighter fluid. McKay told CHS 1 that the Molotov
Cocktails would be lit and thrown at vehicles parked in a parking
lot, the location of which McKay then described. Law enforcement
officers have corroborated the existence of this parking lot, which
is located close to the Dayton Street apartment where the Molotov
cocktails were found. Law enforcement officers have observed that
the parking lot is used by marked and unmarked law enforcement
vehicles and is visibly patrolled by individuals wearing U.S.
Secret Service vests, as well as uniformed members of the military.
When describing the Molotov Cocktails, McKay told CHS 1 that using
tampons is “the safe way to do it.”
16. During their conversation, CHS 1 asked McKay, “what if there’s
a cop sleeping in the car?” McKay responded, “he’ll wake up.” CHS
1 then asked McKay, “what if he doesn’t?,” to which McKay did not
respond. CHS 1 also asked McKay if McKay could leave the scene
with a cop burning or dying, to which McKay answered “yes.” McKay
also told CHS 1 that “it’s worth it if an officer gets burned or
17. On September 3, 2008, St. Paul Police executed a search
warrant for the “third floor living space and common areas” at a
residence on Dayton Street, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The address
searched pursuant to the warrant was the same location where CHS 1
and CHS 2 met with McKay. The warrant was based on the
observations of St. Paul Police Officer Dave Langfellow. The
search warrant specifically requested permission to search for
“[w]eapons or devices that may be used as weapons.” During the
execution of the search warrant, officers found McKay and 2 other
individuals, gas masks with filters, a bolt cutter, black ski mask,
a slingshot, knee pads, and helmets, in the third floor living
space of the address. Additionally, officers found a black
backpack containing a bottle which contained a mixture of gasoline
and oil. Next to the bottle in the backpack was a lighter stick.
Prior to being removed from the residence, McKay informed officers
that the backpack belonged to him.
18. Under the kitchen sink of the residence, officers found a two7
gallon gas container that appears to be identical to the one
purchased by McKay and other members of the Affinity Group at
Walmart on August 31, 2008. See Par. 7 supra.
19. In the basement area of the residence, which is a common area
of the residence available to members living in any of the three
apartment units in the building, officers located eight fully
assembled Molotov cocktails.
20. The Molotov cocktails were found wrapped in a towel, a knit
hat, and a washcloth. Six of the eight Molotov cocktails were
found in a black Nike duffel bag. Each device consisted of a glass
wine or liquor bottle filled with a mixture of gas and oil. The
bottles were each capped. Each bottle also had a tampon secured to
its neck with rubber bands. Your affiant knows that this is a
frequently used method of constructing Molotov cocktails that is
more “user-friendly” in that it lessens the chance that the person
throwing the Molotov cocktail will be inadvertently burned by the
fuel inside the bottle.
21. On September 4, 2008, your affiant conducted a Mirandized
interview of McKay at the Ramsey County Jail. After acknowledging
his rights and waiving them, McKay told your affiant that he
[McKay] and Crowder assembled the Molotov cocktails together at the
St. Paul residence referenced in paragraphs 17-20 supra. McKay
told your affiant words to the effect that their intent was to use
the devices to offensively get back and someone or something.
22. Federal law makes it a felony for a person to “receive or
possess a firearm which is not registered to him in the National
Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.” 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).
The term “firearm” includes a destructive device. 26 U.S.C.
§ 5845(a). The term “destructive device” in turn means any
explosive, incendiary, or poison gas . . . bomb . . . .” 26 U.S.C.
§ 5845(f). The term “destructive device” also includes “any
combination of parts either designed or intended for use in
converting any device into a destructive device . . . and from
which a destructive device may be readily assembled.” Id. I am
aware that assembled Molotov cocktails qualify as destructive
devices under this statute. I am also aware that unassembled
Molotov cocktails have been held to constitute destructive devices
under the latter definition relating to any combination of parts
from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.
23. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of
Minnesota caused a check to be made of the National Firearms
Registration and Transfer Record, which is maintained by the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As of September 4, 2008, that
check revealed that during the relevant time period there have not
been any firearms as defined above registered to Bradley Crowder or
Further your affiant sayeth not.
Christopher V. Langert
Federal Bureau of Investigation