Newly released documents reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation infiltrated various right-wing and anti-government movements in the early 1990s, crossing paths with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and participating in the infamous 1992 raid at Ruby Ridge in Idaho. 

In 1991 the FBI created a fake right-wing extremist group in Texas dubbed the Veterans Aryan Movement (VAM), according to documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Foreign Policy magazine. VAM was a three-member team led by an agent with a background in narcotics working under the alias Dave Rossi. The operation, codenamed PATCON (short for Patriot-conspiracy), lasted two years. During that time, the FBI used VAM to track a wide range of radical and fringe groups associated with the so-called patriot movement. 

The documents reveal an institutional reluctance to pursue investigations based merely on suspects’ beliefs. In April 1993 an FBI review committee warned agents to focus on criminal conduct, rather than constitutionally protected speech. By July 1993, the Bureau shut the investigation down, citing “insufficient justification.”