Adam Weibling, a 38-year-old Texas man, made no secret in recent months of his contempt for the FBI, likening its agents to Nazis and “terrorists” in a series of conspiracy-laden tweets. His dislike for them surely grew on Tuesday when they arrested him for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
FBI agents arrested Weibling in Katy, Texas, on charges of unlawfully entering restricted grounds and engaging in disorderly conduct inside the Capitol, according to court records. His first virtual appearance in D.C. court is scheduled for June 3.
According to an affidavit filed May 19 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and signed by an FBI task force officer, Weibling can be seen in video recorded by a reporter pushing his way past police in riot gear to get inside the Capitol around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6.
Capitol surveillance video showed Weibling looking “disheveled” as he strolled into the building’s Rotunda following his encounter with the police officer, “often placing his hand on his head as if checking for a wound,” the affidavit stated.
He moved in and out of the Rotunda, often interacting with other protesters, until police officers later took control of the crowd, according to the affidavit.
FBI agents were tipped off to Weibling’s participation in the riot by two people who recognized him from the reporter’s video and separately reached out to the bureau on Jan. 19. Flight records and other records confirmed Weibling and his wife were in Washington during the attack.
Neither Weibling nor his attorney immediately responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Weibling, who used the Twitter handle @AdamWeibling, is a prolific tweeter. According to the FBI, his tweets between Dec. 22 and Jan. 15 indicated his “skepticism in the results of the election” and “discontent with Congress.” He also tweeted his intention to travel to Washington to participate in the Jan. 6 rally in support of then-President Donald Trump.
HuffPost analysis of Weibling’s tweets revealed a man who frequently engaged with conservative figures and outlets online through baseless rants about the media and a “stolen” election, but drew little if any engagement himself.
“No one ransacked, people walked around and took pictures, that’s it,” Weibling tweeted around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. “Media is making things up.”
“Enough with the hysterics, these people were really peaceful, at worst this was breaking and entering,” he tweeted minutes later in response to another Twitter user calling the riot “domestic terrorism.”
“No one from our side was biting, it was breaking and entering, that’s it,” Weibling tweeted the next day. “No one swinging, no one shooting, no looting or arson or theft. Not biting at all, just civil disobedience.”
In another tweet, Weibling stated that “these people had every right to break into” the Capitol.
At least five people died during or shortly after the Capitol riot, including one police officer. Two other officers who responded to the attack died by suicide days later. Dozens of law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.
Video and photos taken during the attack showed protesters damaging and stealing items from the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) lectern.
“FBI are the terrorists, bunch of scum,” Weibling tweeted on Jan. 12 in response to another Twitter user writing about the FBI’s search for Capitol siege participants.
“The FBI deserves a special place in hell for covering for the elite ... for persecuting patriots and allowing deadly actual terrorist riots by [Black Lives Matter] and Antifa,” he wrote in a later tweet. “The FBI are not that different from Hitler’s SS.”
In February, Weibling tweeted that there was “nothing inherently wrong with violence.”
“Not a single thing,” he wrote while replying to a tweet sent by right-wing commentator Mike Cernovich. “In fact sometimes violence is a good thing.”
Federal authorities have arrested and charged more than 400 defendants in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and hundreds of additional arrests are likely on the way. The charges against Weibling are on the less serious side, and there’s no current evidence that he actually engaged in any of the more extreme violence he seemed to endorse on social media.
Weibling’s Twitter attacks on the FBI mirrored the rhetoric of the former president he came to D.C. to support on Jan. 6. Trump regularly attacked the FBI over the course of his presidency, and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani ― a former federal prosecutor who has himself since run into trouble with the FBI ― compared FBI special agents to “storm troopers,” a reference to Nazi soldiers.
The rhetoric from Trump and his political allies convinced millions of Trump supporters that the generally conservative-leaning bureau was part of the “deep state” and out to get the former president. The extraordinary attacks on the bureau had real world consequences: Republican voters’ confidence in the FBI plummeted, and federal prosecutors had to deal with jury pools in conservative-leaning states that were inclined to believe that members of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency were corrupt.
FBI officials knew that Trump’s attacks would have long-term effects on the bureau. But they couldn’t have imagined the current scenario: that the FBI would face additional attacks from Republicans because the bureau is charged with identifying and arresting the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.