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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)”, 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
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)
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 email@example.com.
John J. Towery
Fort Lewis Force Protection
ICE Survey for FP Support is at: