Yet more evidence that the passivity of law enforcement in the face of a clear threat was more than just incompetence:
A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war,” according to an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post that contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s demonstrations in support of President Trump planned to do harm.
A situational information report approved for release the day before the U.S. Capitol riot painted a dire portrait of dangerous plans, including individuals sharing a map of the complex’s tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington.
“As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C.,” the document says. “An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”
Yet even with that information in hand, the report’s unidentified author expressed concern that the FBI might be encroaching on free-speech rights.
We can’t do this to Wypipo.
The warning is the starkest evidence yet of the sizable intelligence failure that preceded the mayhem, which claimed the lives of five people, although one law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid disciplinary action, said the failure was not one of intelligence but of acting on the intelligence.
The head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, told reporters on Friday that the agency did not have intelligence suggesting the pro-Trump rally would be anything more than a lawful demonstration. During a news conference Tuesday, held after The Post’s initial publication of this report, he said the alarming Jan. 5 intelligence document was shared “with all our law enforcement partners” through the joint terrorism task force, which includes the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, D.C. police, and other federal and local agencies.
Steven Sund, who resigned as Capitol Police chief, said in an interview Tuesday that he never received nor was made aware of the FBI’s field bulletin, insisting he and others would have taken the warning seriously had it been shared.
“I did not have that information, nor was that information taken into consideration in our security planning,” Sund said.
The Jan. 5 FBI report notes that the information represents the view of the FBI’s Norfolk office, is not to be shared outside law enforcement circles, that it is not “finally evaluated intelligence,” and that agencies receiving it “are requested not to take action based on this raw reporting without prior coordination with the FBI.”
Again. “We can’t do this to Wypipo!”
The document notes that one online comment advised, “if Antifa or BLM get violent, leave them dead in the street,” while another said they need “people on standby to provide supplies, including water and medical, to the front lines. The individual also discussed the need to evacuate noncombatants and wounded to medical care.”
On Jan. 6, a large, angry crowd of people who had attended a rally nearby marched to the Capitol, smashing windows and breaking doors to get inside. One woman in the mob was shot and killed by Capitol Police; officials said three others in the crowd had medical emergencies and died. A Capitol Police officer died after suffering injuries.
For weeks leading up to the event, FBI officials discounted any suggestion that the activities of Trump supporters upset about the scheduled certification of Biden’s election win could be a security threat on a scale with the racial-justice demonstrations that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Even so, there were warning signs, though none as stark as the one from the FBI’s Norfolk office.
FBI agents had in the weeks before the Trump rally visited suspected far-right extremists, hoping to glean whether they had violent intentions, said a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the law enforcement activity. It was not immediately clear who was visited or if the FBI was specifically tracking anyone who would later be charged criminally. These visits were first reported Sunday by NBC News.
In addition, in the days leading up to the demonstrations, some Capitol Hill staffers were told by supervisors to not come in to work that day, if possible, because it seemed the danger level would be higher than many previous protests, according to a person familiar with the warning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. Capitol Police did not take the kind of extra precautions, such as frozen zones and hardened barriers, that are typically used for major events near the Capitol.
Again, this looks like deliberate malfeasance.
Law enforcement departed from standard protocols in order to empower the insurrectionists.
The FBI recently issued a different memo saying that “armed protests” were being planned “at all 50 state capitols” and in D.C. in the run-up to the inauguration, according to an official familiar with the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive law enforcement matter.
They knew that there was a risk of violence, and either because of interference from the Trump administration, or because senior elements of the US State Security Apparatus chose to be on the side of insurrection.
I’m more inclined to believe the latter case today than I was yesterday.
*Let It Happen On Purpose.