According to documents called the “Fed Files,” an FBI informant created the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest Nazi groups in American history.
According to previously unknown records examined by Headline USA, an FBI informant cofounded the National Socialist Movement, one of the biggest and oldest neo-Nazi organizations in American history. This organization is linked to a number of crimes and violent incidents, including the deadly 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
The documents, which this website has called the “Fed Files” because they include a collection of FBI memoranda, affidavits, and court records, further show that the NSM is said to have used informants in key positions during the majority of its almost 50-year history.
The NSM has also been accused of being co-opted by the FBI in a lawsuit brought by a former member who is currently behind bars. The NSM was formerly referred to as the “Hollywood Nazis” for its showy rallies and harsh propaganda.
For this report, the FBI declined to comment.
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Cliff Herrington and Robert Brannen, both key lieutenants of well-known American fascist George Lincoln Rockwell—the initiator of the first American Nazi Party in 1959—founded the NSM in 1974.
The Nazi organization began to suspect more and more in 1976 that Brannen was collaborating with the FBI.
In reality, an essay debunking charges that Brannen was an informant from a rival organization, the National Socialist White Peoples Party, or NSWPP, was published in the NSM’s own journal, the National Socialist, in April 1976. The claims were described in the National Socialist publication as a “reckless and irresponsible smear attack on Comrade Brennan.”
But in terms of Brannen, the NSWPP was correct.
A May 1976 FBI report cautioned that Brannen’s cover may have been exposed in response to the National Socialist piece, which had been published many months earlier.
Although the informant’s identity is removed from the document, Brannen is unmistakably identified by references to the National Socialist article and the allegations that were being made about him at the time.
“Informant’s photograph and description appeared in the February 1976, NSWPP publication and he was named an FBI informant,” the FBI memo said.
The document said that the Cincinnati Office was taking extra precautions to guarantee that this informant could be used effectively without endangering his personal safety because the informant’s organization, the NSM, had made a response public.
Brannen led the NSM unfazed for nearly another ten years after the charges against him, until he had numerous strokes in 1983.
Cliff Herrington, the second NSM cofounder, refuted claims made by his former colleague that he had ever worked as a government informant.
“I personally knew Robert F. Brannen. He wasn’t on the take,” Herrington said in an email to this publication.
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In addition, Herrington corroborated rumors that his wife, Andrea Herrington aka Maxine Dietrich, created the Joy of Satan Ministries, a Satanic cult. White claims that one of the reasons he left the NSM in the middle of the 2000s was the realization of Herrington’s Satanic tendencies.
“Yes! I am married to HP Andrea Herrington nee Dietrich!! Many ivy league critiques have said she was worthy of Master Degrees! Oh, ps SHE & Her Lieutenants are completely right!” Herrington said in a typo-ridden email, which he signed, “Herrington Heil Hitler!”
From the time of Brannen’s serious stroke in 1983 until 1994, when he named Jeff Schoep to take over as leader of the NSM, Herrington served in that capacity.
The Jeff Schoep Era
Additionally, Schoep, who oversaw the NSM from 1994 until just after the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, has been charged with acting as an FBI informant.
In contrast to Brannen, the claim against Schoep isn’t amply supported by FBI notes. And the claim originates from a contentious source: Bill White, a former NSM member who is currently doing time in jail for several felonies.
In a 2017 FOIA lawsuit he filed from behind bars against the FBI as well as a 2020 court declaration in which he unsuccessfully requested compassionate release, White accused Schoep of being an informant. To the same court declaration, White included the FBI letter about Brannen.
White filed a FOIA action in order to obtain information regarding the NSM, Schoep, and a number of other individuals he said were involved in an FBI right-wing entrapment scheme.
White claims that the NSM was taken under the FBI’s custody as early as 2004 and perhaps much earlier. In his FOIA complaint, White claimed that the FBI and ATF “would use the National Socialist Movement to hold phony ‘white supremacist’ rallies.”
“The FBI-JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] would also arrange for violent counterdemonstrations against these rallies through informants in groups such as Anti-Racist Action … The ATF was also using the NSM in a similar fashion,” White said in his FOIA lawsuit.
“Neither party was disclosing that the rallies were fraudulent,” White added. “Instead, the federal government was using the rallies to make it appear as if there was a ‘domestic terrorist threat’ when no such threat existed.”
Additionally, Jesse Morton, a former FBI informant who served as an al-Qaeda recruiter in the years following 9/11 until his imprisonment in 2011, and Schoep have been publicly involved.
In November 2021, approximately a month before Morton was discovered dead in a Florida hotel room, Schoep and Morton both took part in a discussion about combating violent extremism organized by the Parallel Networks nonprofit organization, which was supported by the DHS.
Schoep still recoils at the idea that he was an informant in the Nazi movement, despite the fact that he now freely collaborates with police enforcement.
“Outright accusing me of being an informant: Wow,” he said in an email to this publication. “If I was still in the movement, you might have gotten a visit for that accusation—and not a visit from law enforcement.”
Other Feds in the NSM
Even though Schoep wasn’t an FBI spy, the federal government infiltrated the NSM when he was its head.
For instance, court procedures in 2007 showed that David Gletty, the president of NSM’s Florida branch, was an informant.
In 2006, Gletty had planned an NSM gathering in Orlando. Therefore, it caused a stir in the neighborhood’s black population when he was exposed as an informant more than a year later.
“That revelation came Wednesday in an unrelated federal court hearing and has prompted outrage from black leaders, some of whom demanded an investigation into whether the February 2006 march was, itself, an event staged by law-enforcement agencies,” the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time.
Three ATF officers also attended the Orlando gathering, according to Gletty, who later wrote a biography titled Undercover Nazi.
White, a prisoner who also attended the Orlando demonstration, stated in his 2020 declaration that he now thinks most of the Nazi protesters were spies.
“I estimate that about three of the twenty to twenty-five persons who participated were not federal agents: myself, Laura Sennett, aka Isis, and an undercover reporter for a local paper,” White said.
Burt Colucci, who is presently in charge of NSM, revealed to Headline USA that he too had been requested to serve as an informant.
According to Colucci, he declined the FBI’s offer.
“The FBI likes to play games no matter what side of this you’re on. They actually came to me and told me they could ‘supplement my income,’ offering me—they didn’t specify what exactly they meant or or how much, but they said they’d supplement my income,” he said.
“I told them I don’t want anything to do with them and to talk to my lawyers, so they did—they talked to my Arizona lawyer at the time,” he said, adding, “I would have personally told them to f*ck off and keep their money, but my lawyer’s like, ‘Let me tell them. I’ll say it a little bit nicer for you.’”
However, Colluci, who after seizing leadership of the organization deleted Schoep’s NSM email accounts, claimed he is not worried about the possibility that his former boss was an informant.
“All of these people are long gone, whether informants at the time or not,” he said.
In contrast, a jury determined that Schoep owed $500,000 and that the NSM owed $1 million for its activities in Charlottesville in 2017.
An appeal in that case is still underway for Schoep.