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How Citizen Investigators are Helping the FBI Track Down Jan. 6 Rioters

January 9, 2024

How Citizen Investigators are Helping the FBI Track Down Jan. 6 Rioters

Ask students: What do you think it says about America that the government doesn't have the law enforcement resources needed to fully investigate Jan. 6?

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Summary

The Jan. 6 investigation is the largest FBI operation in history. More than 1200 people have been charged and over 900 convicted. But it has stretched the bureau’s resources and has often had to rely on the work of citizen investigators who came to be known as 'sedition hunters.' Judy Woodruff spoke with one of these anonymous sleuths as part of her series, America at a Crossroads.

Video timemarkers:

Start to 3:16: Sandy and public's role in aiding Jan. 6 cases

3:18-5:57: FBI's role

5:59-6:57: Republic lawmakers' reaction

6:58-8:06: Sandy on why Jan. 6 was not patriotic

8:07-9:40: American University prof. on lack of govt. resources to investigate and role of misinformation

9:42-end: Sandy on family divides

For a transcript of this story, click here.

News wrap alternative: Check out recent segments from the NewsHour, and choose the story you’re most interested in watching. You can make a Google doc copy of discussion questions that work for any of the stories here.

Remote video URL

Warm Up Questions

  1. Who is Sandy? How would you describe her and others who have joined the effort to identify the individuals who broke into the Capitol?
  2. Where do members of the public who are helping to investigate Jan. 6 hail from?
  3. How does the FBI handle tips from the public concerning Jan. 6?
  4. What are some of the reasons for the backlog in the FBI concerning cases related to Jan. 6?
  5. Why would some members of the FBI be against investigating rioters from the Jan. 6 insurrection?

Focus Questions

  • What do you think it says about America that the government doesn't have the law enforcement resources needed to fully investigate Jan. 6?
  • How could media literacy be used to combat misinformation pertaining to Jan. 6?

Media literacy: Why do you think the NewsHour decided to interview an NBC reporter to learn more about the FBI's reaction to Jan. 6?

Alternative: See, Think, Wonder: What did you notice? What did the story make you think? What story would you want to find out more about? Where would you go to learn more?

For More

What students can do: Learn more about news literacy (also called media literacy), including misinformation. Use the News Literacy Project's "Sanitize before you share" tip sheet to get started:

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Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

Addressing Threats to Democracy

Using the January 6 insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation.

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PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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