- An internal FBI report warned about a “war” at the US Capitol the day before pro-Trump insurrectionists attacked it, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
- The situational report came from the FBI’s office in Virginia and said the bureau had “received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin” on January 6 in Washington, DC.
- The document cited an online thread with “specific calls for violence,” including one that said, “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled.”
- “Get violent,” the thread went on to say, according to the report detailed in The Post’s story. “Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die.”
- Tuesday’s report adds another layer to the massive intelligence failure that contributed to the storming of the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths.
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An internal FBI situational report warned on January 5 that pro-Trump insurrectionists were planning to wage a “war” at the US Capitol the next day, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The bureau’s office in Norfolk, Virginia, issued the warning, saying that it “received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin” on January 6 in Washington, DC, The Post reported.
According to The Post, the FBI report cited an “online thread” that “discussed specific calls for violence,” including one that said: “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.”
Supporters of President Donald Trump also reportedly shared a map of tunnels underneath the Capitol complex and locations in Kentucky, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania where they could meet up before heading to Washington, DC, to attend a “Save America” rally that the president headlined.
An FBI official familiar with the situational report told The Post that the bureau’s Norfolk office put the document together within 45 minutes of becoming aware of the thread and that officials at the field office in Washington, DC, were briefed on it the day before the rally. It was unclear whether other law-enforcement agencies were contacted.
The Post’s report directly undercuts a senior FBI official’s claim that the bureau had no intelligence suggesting there would be violence at the Capitol after the rally. It also adds another layer to what appears to have been a massive intelligence failure that contributed to the pro-Trump mob’s ability to storm the Capitol â€” where members of Congress and the vice president had convened to count the 2020 electoral votes â€” with relative ease.
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund stepped down after calls for his resignation mounted. He told The Post in an interview that both the House and the Senate sergeants at arms â€” both of whom have since been fired or forced out â€” turned down his requests that the National Guard in Washington, DC, be on standby in case he needed backup.
The Department of Homeland Security has also been accused of not taking the threat of white-supremacist violence seriously enough. Leaders at the department’s Intelligence and Analysis unit didn’t view the pro-Trump demonstrations as a serious threat, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Amid the lack of interagency coordination and the poor planning, the Capitol Police and Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Police denied the National Guard’s offers of backup until the riot was well underway. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also said last week that the head of the National Guard at the federal level rejected requests to deploy the state’s troops for 90 minutes.
Before the siege, Trump riled up his fanatics at the “Save America” rally. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he said. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“We’re going to have to fight much harder,” he said.
The attempted coup resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained as Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.
Additional footage and news reports have suggested the riot could have been deadlier had Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers not been evacuated. A crowd of Trump supporters outside the Capitol chanted “hang Mike Pence,” and a Reuters photojournalist said he overheard at least three rioters say they wanted to hang Pence “from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor.”
A makeshift gallows with a noose was erected outside the building as neo-Nazis and white nationalists who support the president raided the Capitol to hunt down other lawmakers.
In the wake of the violence, The Post reported, the FBI and other US agencies have discussed their oversights on issues of race and domestic terrorism. The government has drawn sharp criticism over the contrast in how it responded â€” or failed to respond â€” to the Capitol riot stoked by mostly white Trump supporters and the responses to the largely peaceful anti-racism protests last year after the police killing of George Floyd.
“In city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protestors met with brute force,” former first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement after the insurrection. “We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op.
“And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation,” she added. “They have just got to look the right way.”
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