Watch CBS News

Riggleman: White House switchboard called a Capitol rioter on January 6

WH called capitol rioter on Jan. 6
Riggleman: White House switchboard called a Capitol rioter on January 6 | 60 Minutes 01:15

Former senior technical adviser for the January 6 Committee, Denver Riggleman, said the White House switchboard connected a phone call to a Capitol rioter on January 6, 2021.

"You get a real 'a-ha' moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter's phone while it's happening," Riggleman told 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. "That's a big, pretty big 'a-ha' moment."

Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former Republican congressman from Virginia, oversaw a data-driven operation for the January 6 committee, pursuing phone records and other digital clues tied to the attack on the Capitol. He stopped working for the committee in April.

"I only know one end of that call," Riggleman said. "I don't know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more."

Specific White House phone numbers are kept secret to protect every administration. In a soon-to-be-released book, Riggleman writes he had begged the January 6 Committee to push harder to identify the numbers.

Riggleman told Whitaker that he expressed his concerns to the committee, "I was one of those individuals, sadly, at the beginning, you know, where I was very, very aggressive about these linked connections, getting those White House phone numbers."

In a statement to 60 Minutes, a spokesperson for the January 6 Committee said in part, "In his role on the Select Committee staff, Mr. Riggleman had limited knowledge of the committee's investigation. He departed from the staff in April prior to our hearings and much of our most important investigative work…Since his departure, the Committee has run down all the leads and digested and analyzed all the information that arose from his work…and a thorough report will be published by the end of the year."

Riggleman said, "From my perspective…being in counterterrorism. If the White House, even if it's a short call, and it's a connected call, who is actually making that phone call?"

"Is there a simple, innocent explanation for that?" Whitaker asked.

"Was it an accidental call?" Riggleman responded. "When the White House just happened to call numbers that somebody misdialed a rioter that day, on January 6th? Probably not."

The call was uncovered after Riggleman assembled a small team of data miners and analysts for the committee to comb through 20 million lines of data: emails, social media posts, phone records, and texts, to learn who did what leading up to and on January 6th.

"We were able to do things, I think, in a way that had never been done before with millions of lines of data," Riggleman said. "And to actually create a graph that shows how these groups actually intermingled."

Those groups, according to Riggleman, included, "Trump team, Trump family, rally goers, unaffiliated DOJ-charged defendants, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and others, which are state legislators, alternate electors, things like that."

Watch Bill Whitaker's report on Denver Riggleman, Sunday on 60 Minutes.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.