‘Top Capitol rioter’ was a former FBI chief – had a top-secret clearance

Thomas Edward Caldwell, 66, filed a motion for bond on Monday that listed a long career in the military and a stint in the FBI.

But Caldwell’s attorney, Thomas K. Plofchan, says he isn’t just a retired lieutenant commander. Caldwell also had a top-secret security clearance and served as a section chief for the FBI after leaving the armed forces in 2009, Plofchan said.

Those details were revealed in a motion filed Monday asking a judge to release Caldwell from custody, citing his long military career and ability to pass vetting for the high-security clearance. His attorney also said that Caldwell has disabilities from his military service that would have prevented him from storming the Capitol.

The FBI did not immediately return an inquiry late Monday about Caldwell’s past employment status. Caldwell’s filing, which says he was paid as a GS-12, does not explain how he could have served as an FBI section chief while also being classified at a significantly lower federal pay scale than typically comes with such a position.

The claims about Caldwell’s high-security clearance and FBI service add to concerns about extremism in the military and law enforcement. The indictments against numerous alleged rioters with military and police connections have led local agencies to open investigations and the Pentagon to order each military branch to dedicate time to addressing the problem in the coming months.

Source: The feds say he’s an extremist leader who directed rioters. He also had top-secret clearance and worked for the FBI, attorney says.