What did the police know and how did they know it?

Two stories out today paint a picture of how well embedded police sources were in the groups that had promised to shut down the Republican National Convention.

Here’s the application for a search warrant that was submitted to the Ramsey County Court last week, that details the role of informants in the investigation.

Police allege the group of self-described anarchists plotted for more than a year to burn vehicles, spear police with sharpened poles, blockade bridges and wreak criminal havoc on St. Paul this week, according to MPR’s Linda Fantin.

This afternoon, meanwhile, the law enforcement officials in charge of security for the convention released details of the arrest of a man in Wisconsin last week. Says a news release:


According to a FBI affidavit, (Matthew) DePalma became known to the FBI in July 2008, when DePalma attended the CrimeThinc Convergence near Waldo, Wisc. During this event, DePalma allegedly stated his intention to travel to Minnesota to attend the RNC, and also expressed his desire to “make some bombs” and “blow up” things during the RNC.

The release reveals that authorities monitored his Internet use, tapped his phone or apartment, and tailed him.


The affidavit states that DePalma went to the Hennepin County Library on Aug. 18 and spent 90 minutes researching recipes for explosive devices. DePalma produced a handwritten list of items he would need to construct “special” Molotov cocktails that would stick to people and other targets.

DePalma’s conversations, recorded on Aug. 20, described a plan to place a bomb near the Xcel Center during the RNC in an effort to disrupt the convention. The plan involved entering the tunnels near the center and using either Molotov cocktails or a chemical bomb to destroy electrical cables and cause a power outage. DePalma, the affidavit states, also described a related plan to use napalm-filled Molotov cocktails on the streets against police officers stating, “I will light one of those pigs on fire.”

The affidavit states that DePalma obtained supplies for making Molotov cocktails on Aug.

21-22. On Aug. 22, DePalma allegedly manufactured two jugs of a homemade napalm-like substance for use in Molotov cocktails. He created a flammable gelatin, and described to another the proper technique for throwing a Molotov cocktail to obtain the best explosion. DePalma continued to discuss his desire to make a bomb for use at the Xcel Center on either the convention’s first day (Sept. 1) or last day (Sept. 4).

According to the affidavit, DePalma stated that if he could bomb the center on Sept. 1 they might call off the convention. He added that a “power outage would say a lot” and that it was his “main purpose.” DePalma also said that he would like to bomb the Xcel Energy Center on Sept. 4 so that the convention would “end with a bang.”

DePalma was observed traveling to a remote location in Rosemount for the purpose of

assembling and testing Molotov cocktails. On Aug. 25, DePalma went to a remote location in Roseville for the purpose of experimenting with chemicals for a chemical bomb.

The affidavit states that DePalma manufactured three additional Molotov cocktails in a

Minneapolis apartment on Aug. 28, where he was arrested. The affidavit states that DePalma possessed a total of five Molotov cocktails between Aug. 22-28, which were not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law.