Ryan Lucas

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

He focuses on the national security side of the Justice beat, including counterterrorism and counterintelligence. Lucas also covers a host of other justice issues, including the Trump administration's "tough-on-crime" agenda and anti-trust enforcement.

Before joining NPR, Lucas worked for a decade as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press based in Poland, Egypt and Lebanon. In Poland, he covered the fallout from the revelations about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. In the Middle East, he reported on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the turmoil that followed. He also covered the Libyan civil war, the Syrian conflict and the rise of the Islamic State. He reported from Iraq during the U.S. occupation and later during the Islamic State takeover of Mosul in 2014.

He also covered intelligence and national security for Congressional Quarterly.

Lucas earned a bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary, and a master's degree from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

In April of 2009, a bespectacled former Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate took the microphone at a small rally just outside of Boston to introduce his new self-styled militia.

"I'm Stewart Rhodes," he said. "And I'm the founder of Oath Keepers."

That event on Lexington Green served as a coming-out party for Rhodes and Oath Keepers, a group that touts itself as a defender of the rights of Americans from what it views as a tyrannical government.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Authorities investigating the attack on democracy January 6 are interested in the founder of the Oath Keepers. Stewart Rhodes started the far-right militia group. So who is he really? Here's NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

For nearly three months, federal investigators have been digging to get to the bottom of a major question hanging over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol: Was it planned and coordinated?

The public has begun to see pieces of an answer to that question in recent weeks through court filings and statements from prosecutors. Those materials do not — at this point — show that those in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 had a clear, coherent plan ahead of time to breach the building, according to an NPR review.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Were the people in the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol in January planning and coordinating that assault? This is a key question for investigators.

The founder of the Oath Keepers militia had a 97-second phone call with a senior member of the group who minutes later took part in a military-style "stack" formation with other Oath Keepers to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to federal prosecutors.

The allegation emerged in court papers the Justice Department filed overnight in the case against 10 alleged members or associates of the Oath Keepers facing conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol riot.

Updated March 24, 2021 at 12:13 PM ET

A member of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group who is charged with conspiracy in connection with the Capitol riot claimed to be coordinating with the Proud Boys and a far-right, self-styled militia to form an "alliance" on Jan. 6, according to court papers filed by the Justice Department.

A federal judge sharply criticized the Justice Department Tuesday for speaking to the press about its case against alleged members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group facing conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

"I called this hearing this afternoon to make clear to everyone that this case will not be tried in the media," U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta said. "If there are further public comments or stories of the kind that we've seen in the last 48 hours, I will not hesitate to consider a gag order."

Four alleged leaders of the Proud Boys have been indicted in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol over allegedly conspiring, including in discussions on encrypted messaging apps, to obstruct the certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory.

The indictment unsealed Friday charges the defendants — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zach Rehl and Charles Donohoe — with six counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement, destruction of government property and conspiracy.

Updated March 18, 2021 at 2:34 PM ET

The FBI released a series of videos Thursday that show 10 people suspected of some of the most violent attacks on police officers during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and asked the public for help identifying the assailants.

Federal prosecutors allege that the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group, Stewart Rhodes, was in direct communication — in the runup to Jan. 6 and then during the Capitol insurrection itself — with militia members who stormed the building.

The allegations emerged in court papers filed late Monday by the government in the case against Thomas Caldwell, an alleged Oath Keeper who along with eight other people is facing conspiracy and other federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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