Who is John Towery?

UPDATE: FEB 28, 2014
Please check out the lawsuit against Towery et al. They are taking this fight to the court and need donations + support. They have set up a website where you can learn more and donate via PayPal. There is a press release and you can read the complaint here. A document showing how this spying resulted in an activist being labeled as a "domestic terrorist" is available here.
UPDATE: FEB 25, 2014
An incredible Democracy Now! segment was released this week on how Towery tried to give activists guns, teach them how to "clear buildings with firearms" and build a nation-wide intelligence network for sharing information on activists.

UPDATE: JAN 23, 2010
New documents have been released providing intricate detail on much of Towery's spying. You can grab a copy from our site here (part two is here). In these records are intra-agency memos and hand-written notes detailing the most personal details of the lives of those who fell prey to illegal spying and government surveillance.

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John Towery is a professional informant who works for the US Army. He works on Fort Lewis, WA in ‘force protection’. Between September 2007 and July 2009, using the alias “John Jacob (agent_orange@riseup.net)”, he illegally infiltrated various anti-war and “anarchist” groups around the Olympia and Tacoma (WA) area including Port Militarization Resistance and Students for a Democratic Society. He also worked closely with the Smash ICE Campaign and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Much of his time was spent befriending anarchists or those whose views had anarchist characteristics. People who knew John Jacob described him as kind, generous, and friendly. He came to meetings and quickly became a trusted individual, leading to him becoming the administrator of the PMR mailing list which gave him access to the name and email address of almost every person in the organization. The information he collected was given to and used by various government bodies including The US Army, The Olympia Police Department, the Tacoma Police Department, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Washington State Patrol, and the Washington Joint Analytical Center. After his outing, he admitted to spying on these groups and passing on information to these agencies. This information collection on US citizens and groups engaged in 1st Amendment protected activities was clearly illegal under a number of statues and violated the rights and civil liberties of those involved.

This story has made it far and there’s a lot of coverage. Some of the best coverage so far came from the first media outlet to break the story: Democracy Now!. The first episode dedicated to this event is available at http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/stream

They also did a second episode with Christopher Pyle, the whistleblower who sparked the Church hearings available at http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/29/pyle

Wikileaks significantly contributed to open discussion about this incident by helping to leak source documents describing military spying activity. Some of these documents were available months before John Towery was outed. And of course, this story would have been heard anywhere had some hard-working activists in Olympia not looked into who “John Jacob” really was.

Other media coverage worth looking at:

Public Records Request finds Olympia Activists Caught in a National Surveillance Program (Brendan Dunn, Works in Progress)

The Death of John Jacobs (Brendan Dunn, Works in Progress)

PMR Activist “John Jacob” Exposed as Military Agent (Drew Hendricks, Works in Progress)

The Spy Who Billed Me Twice (Julian Assange ,WIKILEAKS) Link dead? Try this one.
Source documents worth reading:

Washington Joint Analytical Center Seattle private intelligence outsourcing, 1525 pages, 2006-2008 at WIKILEAKS Link Dead? Try this one

Agent Orange is a Spy for Ft. Lewis (original outing) at Portland Indymedia

Spying on anti-war protesters: US Army Concept of Operations for Police Intelligence Operations, 4 Mar 2009 at WIKILEAKS Link Broken? Try this one.

What proof exist that John Towery was a spy?

Public records show that John Towery sent “Force Protection Intelligence Updates” (at the bottom of this page) to various agencies including the US Army, The Olympia Police Department, and the Tacoma Police Department. John’s home address was surveilled and it was established that John Towery lives there. He was identified as being the same John that infiltrated the various groups stated above. Furthermore, the license plate on his bike which had been seen by various activists matches those found in the “Iron Butt Motorcycle Rider’s Association” membership list under the name John Towery. After the outing, he admitted in person to several individuals that he indeed was passing information on to the US Army, the FBI, the Washington Joint Analytical Center, Washington State Patrol, and various state agencies. His behavior and the information he gained is typical of an infiltrator, such as trying to become an administrator on the PMR listserv (and succeeding).

Why was this spying illegal?

Under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, it is illegal for the US Army or other military forces to collect information on US Civillians. Furthermore, had John worked for another agency, such as the Olympia Police Department or the FBI it would have been illegal to do what he had done. Groups such as Students for a Democratic Society and Olympia Port Militarization Resistance are engaged in 1st Amendment protected activity and various state and federal laws including the constitution prevent surveillance and disruption of such groups. Furthermore, since various agencies acted on information that they should have reasonably known were obtained illegally, they were also in violation of the law.

Is John Towery still involved in these groups?

No, he has been kicked out of these groups and removed from their mailing lists.

Are additional pictures available of John Towery?

Yes,. there is a picture of him on his bike (including his plate number for verification) at


A higher resolution picture of him is available at http://portland.indymedia.org/media/images/2009/07/392921.jpg

If I have information on John Towery that is not known to the public what should I do?

You should see our about us page to get in touch with us.

What have groups such as Port Militarization Resistance done in response to these revelations?

They have publicly outed information about this individual and continued their important anti-war and social justice work.

From: “Towery II, John J CIV USA IMCOM”
To: “LEWIS DES Fusion Cell”
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 3:47 PM
Attach: 20081212 Daily.doc
Subject: (U // FOUO) 20081212- Fort Lewis Force Protection Daily Update(UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO
Please find attached the Fort Lewis daily force protection update. This
document is FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY and intended for Force Protection and
Law Enforcement personnel only. You may communicate contents in the
summary within your organization, but if you wish to distribute outside
of this community, contact the Fort Lewis FP Fusion Cell at the points
of contact below. If you want to get a copy of the FY09 Threat
Assessment for Fort Lewis email the lewispmfusioncell@conus.army.mil.
John J. Towery
Fort Lewis Force Protection
COM: 253-966-7317
DSN: 347-7317
ICE Survey for FP Support is at:

Public Records Request finds Olympia Activists Caught in a National Surveillance Program