Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System (Hardcover)
The January 6th attack is an unprecedented crime in American history. Sprawling and openly political, it can't be handled by the traditional rules and norms of law enforcement--threatening the very idea of justice and its role in society.
The attack on the Capitol building following the 2020 election was an extraordinarily large and brazen crime. Conspiracies were formed on social media in full public view, the law-breakers paraded on national television with undisguised faces, and with outgoing President Donald Trump openly cheering them on. The basic concept of law enforcement--investigators find criminals and serve justice--quickly breaks down in the face of such an event. The system has been strained by the sheer volume of criminals and the widespread perception that what they did wasn't wrong.
A mass of online tipsters--"sedition hunters"--have mobilized, simultaneously providing the FBI with valuable intelligence and creating an ethical dilemma. Who gets to serve justice? How can law enforcement still function as a pillar of civil society? As the foundations of our government are questioned, the FBI and Department of Justice are the first responders to a crisis of democracy and law that threatens to spread, and fast.
In this work of extraordinary reportage, Ryan Reilly gets to know would-be revolutionaries, obsessive online sleuths, and FBI agents, and shines a light on a justice system that's straining to maintain order in our polarized country. From the moment the police barriers were breached on January 6th, 2021, Americans knew something had profoundly changed. Sedition Hunters is the fascinating, high-stakes story of what happens next.
About the Author
Ryan J. Reilly is a Justice reporter for NBC News. Previously, he was the senior justice reporter for HuffPost, where he covered the Justice Department and the FBI for more than a decade. He was 2017 Livingston Award finalist for his reporting on jail deaths, and has appeared on a variety of television programs, including The Situation Room, The Lead with Jake Tapper, Reliable Sources, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, and American Voices with Alicia Mendendez. He lives in Washington, DC.
The definitive account of the massive, open-source effort to bring January 6 perpetrators to justice from the finest reporter on the beat.—Chris Hayes, bestselling author of A Colony in a Nation
In Sedition Hunters, Ryan Reilly has delivered in real time the untold tale of the network of patriots, outside and inside government, who are bringing January 6 traitors to justice. Reilly’s compelling storytelling evokes big-screen imagery throughout.—Jonathan Allen, #1 New York Times–bestselling author
Sedition Hunters expertly tells the story of the men and women who took it upon themselves to ensure there would be consequences for those who tried to overthrow our democracy on January 6. Fast paced, thorough, and sweeping, this book makes crystal clear the extent to which the responsibility of protecting our multiracial democracy falls to each of us as citizens.—Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist
and author of American Whitelash
Already the preeminent journalist chronicling the efforts to prosecute those who carried out the January 6 Capitol attack, Reilly astutely chronicles how everyday Americans became essential sleuths in the mission of federal law enforcement to seek justice for the nation after that terrible day. This book is thrilling, fascinating, and brilliant.—Yamiche Alcindor, NBC News
Reilly proves why he’s the country’s best journalist on this beat with a compelling, crisply paced, and deeply reported portrait of the fight for justice after January 6th. Sedition Hunters seamlessly weaves together fresh details, comprehensive insider accounts, and critical historical context—punctuated by occasional moments of wry humor.—Hallie Jackson, NBC News
Reilly debuts with a detailed and riveting report of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot that illuminates the work of a little-known cottage industry involved in the subsequent federal investigation: the “sedition hunters"...A crucial new window onto a historic event.—Publishers Weekly, starred review