Media Obscures That Man Busted With Explosive Near Jan. 6 Rally Had Antifa Gear

Garrett Smith. Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

On January 6, there was a rally in Clearwater, Florida, of about 85 protesters, who came out in support of Jan. 6, 2021, defendant Jeremy Brown.

But police picked up a man when they saw him running suspiciously near the rally. The man was dressed all in black with a black mask. Police arrested the man, identified as Garrett Smith, 22.

The police searched his backpack and allegedly found a pipe explosive device which they determined to be “active,” so they cleared all the ralliers out of the area. The police also found a “Direct Action Checklist.” Direct action is a term frequently used by leftist groups like Antifa. On the list were a bunch of things like pepper spray, smoke rockets, a laser pointer (which Antifa used to aim at police officers’ eyes in Portland), flammable rags, and construction nails — making it clear he wasn’t planning on attending a tea party. He also had a helmet with the “iron front” three arrow logo on it — a logo commonly used by Antifa.

The police then got a search warrant of his home where they found another “pipe-type explosive” as well as “hand grenade type explosives.”

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that Smith was refusing to talk to them.

“Smith refused to give any information, he refused to talk to deputies, so we really have no idea as to what his political leanings are and whether he supported or opposed the protesters at the jail. We also don’t know exactly what his plan was or why Smith was running away from the protest area when he was apprehended by deputies and before he had an opportunity to detonate the explosive device,” Gualtieri said. [….]

Gualtieri said that people such as Smith are among the “most concerning individuals” because of the lack of criminal history.

“Smith has no criminal history, no social media accounts that we can find, and there’s no prior intelligence information about Smith. Smith is what we call a sleeper, and these are the most concerning individuals because there’s no opportunity to intervene and thwart their criminal activity until they actually act,” Gualtieri said. [….]

“We’re fortunate in this situation that something caused Smith to flee before he ignited the explosive device and the deputies were able to apprehend him,” Gualtieri said.

He’s being held on a $300,250 bond. He has been charged with three counts of possession or discharge of a destructive device and one count of loitering and prowling.

His family told the police that he had been in Portland and “returned a few months ago.”

Gee, I wonder what he was doing in Portland?

Portland has been at the mercy of Antifa for the past two years, with all kinds of violent rioting . Portland has largely failed to adequately address the problem there, and the federal government has not pursued the organized nature of the direct actions.

What was astonishing about all this was how, even with the various evidence, the police said they couldn’t say anything about his political leanings. Now, police tend to be reticent to put stuff out there; But they were laying out all the information there, even mentioning Portland.

In the coverage of the case, the media largely ignored the Antifa question, instead talked about how Smith was arrested at a rally supporting a Jan. 6 defendant — thus leaving the impression he was related to Jan. 6 defendants.

Here’s how the AP describes it:

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Garrett Smith, 22, was near a political assembly supporting a jailed Oath Keeper who is charged with participating in the Capitol riot last year. When they searched his backpack, they found a pipe-style explosive device and a checklist detailing items to bring including armor, helmet, shaded goggles, a gas mask, duct tape and flammable rags.

Deputies said they also found a helmet with a logo on it that had been seen at other protests in cities such as Portland, where Smith had spent time.

You have to read between the lines and understand what “other protests” actually references. But hey, they’re just journalists — why should they do their job and clarify?