The White House has faced pressure from senators to withdraw Stone-Manning’s nomination since Fox News first revealed that she traded her testimony for legal immunity in a tree-spiking case in the 1990s.
Stone-Manning was granted immunity in exchange for testifying that she retyped and sent an anonymous letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, her former roommate and friend.
The letter told the Forest Service that 500 pounds of “spikes measuring 8 to 10 inches in length” had been jammed into the trees of an Idaho forest. Tree-spiking is a dangerous ecoterrorist tactic that has severely injured people, such as a mill worker whose jaw was split in two from an exploding saw.
Most recent, a retired federal agent involved in the probe said Stone-Manning was an early target in the ecoterrorism investigation, contradicting her claims to senators that she had never been the target of a federal investigation.
The anonymous agent told E&E News on Friday that Stone-Manning “absolutely refused to do anything” to help with the investigation at first and only complied with law enforcement after “she was caught.”
“I got a call from the FBI in Boston, Massachusetts, asking me if I had a tree-spiking case here. I said ‘Yes.’ The agent said, ‘Guess what? I have a lady right here in my office who can furnish you with the information you need,'” the retired agent recalled, saying Stone-Manning only cooperated after being given the information.
The agent said Stone-Manning was viewed as a target of the grand jury probe.
Stone-Manning wrote on her standard Senate committee questionnaire that she had not been the subject of any investigation but touched on her involvement in the tree-spiking court case.
The nominee’s past statements also appear to contradict her answer on the questionnaire.
Stone-Manning was one of seven people subpoenaed for fingerprints, hair samples, palm prints and handwriting samples as part of a grand jury investigation into the tree spiking, the Montana Kaimin reported in 1989.
In 1990, Stone-Manning complained to The Spokesman-Review, a newspaper in Washington state, about the way she was treated by FBI and U.S. Forest Service agents who were investigating the tree-spiking incident.
“It was degrading. It changed my awareness of the power of the government,” Stone-Manning said at the time. “Yes, this was happening to me and not someone in Panama. And, yes, the government does do bad things sometimes.”
In 1993, Stone-Manning told The Missoulian, a Montana paper, that she could have been charged with conspiracy if she hadn’t agreed to testify against Blount.
Stone-Manning has also faced scrutiny for urging population control to protect the environment in her graduate thesis.
But the Biden administration still supports the embattled nominee.
“Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has years of experience and a proven track record of finding solutions and common ground when it comes to our public lands and waters,” a White House official told Fox News on Monday. “She is exceptionally qualified to be the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management.”
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, told Fox News in an email Thursday that anyone familiar with the “eco-terrorist practice” of tree-spiking does not consider Stone-Manning “exceptionally qualified.”
“When Idahoans hear someone who conspired with tree spikers is the administration’s pick to lead the largest land management agency in America, they are rightfully appalled. Conspiring with tree spikers is not a mistake,” Risch said. “A mistake is opening the sock drawer in the morning and pulling out two socks that don’t match. When you knowingly, willfully, intentionally, with malice and forethought, attempt to take someone else’s life – that’s not a mistake.”
Ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said the investigator “confirmed” what he has been saying about Stone-Manning throughout her confirmation process.
“Tracy Stone-Manning collaborated with eco-terrorists who had booby trapped trees with metal spikes,” Barrasso said in a press release Monday. “She mailed the threatening letter for them and she was part of the cover up. She did not cooperate with investigators until she was caught.”
Barrasso also said Stone-Manning “lied to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by claiming the tree spiking was ‘alleged’ and that she was never investigated.”
“Now, we have confirmation that neither of those things are true,” he added. “President Biden must withdraw her nomination.”
Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene