CNN has learned that federal law enforcement in a series of bulletins and calls with local partners this week has issued an urgent call to help secure the country’s capital as inauguration approaches, drawing a bleak picture of potential threats leading up to January 20th.
Officials warn that last Wednesday’s attacks on the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump are likely to motivate further follow-up attacks by extremists throughout 2021, according to an intelligence bulletin dated Wednesday and obtained by CNN.
WARNING that the people who attacked the Capitol largely considered their efforts a success, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, that the attack “is very likely to serve as a significant driver of violence”
“The violent violation of the US Capitol Building is very likely part of an ongoing trend where (extremists) are exploiting legal protests, demonstrations and demonstrations and other gatherings to carry out ideologically motivated violence and criminal activity,” the intelligence bulletin warned. .
The range of potential future attack targets was varied, with intelligence officials warning in the bulletin that extremists could reset government officials and institutions as well as racial and religious minorities, journalists and members of the LGBTQ + community.
The bulletin also stated that the January 6 attack may have served as a place for extremists with various ideological motives to promote connections.
In addition to the perceived success of the January 6 Capitol attack, intelligence officials warned that law enforcement response could also motivate extremists to respond with violence, including at the forthcoming inauguration of Biden.
“Since (the Capitol attack), the violent online rhetoric regarding (initiation) has increased, and some are calling for unspecified ‘justice’ ‘for a rebel shot by police inside the Capitol,” the bulletin said.
Other motives for possible future attacks included anti-government views contained by extremists as well as complaints associated with the false narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
“The growing prevalence and influence of conspiracy theories based on a belief in the existence of global or ‘deep state’ actors working to manipulate various social, political and / or economic conditions in the United States is very likely to serve as a driving force for some (extremist) violence, “the report said.
The conspiracy theory-laden language observed by U.S. intelligence officials has often reflected baseless allegations from Trump. Throughout his presidency, Trump has claimed without evidence that a gruesome group of “deep state actors” has been secretly working to undermine his presidency, and he has continually spread disinformation about the integrity of the 2020 election.
Feds working with police around the country
As law enforcement prepares to respond to upcoming protests before and during the inauguration, FBI Director Chris Wray and senior official who performed duties for Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli held a call Wednesday with police officers from across the country to give a briefing on the nationwide threat picture relating to planned protests, according to a person who was briefed on the call.
The source said the FBI briefed its law enforcement partners on intelligence reporting, indicating that protesters planned to hold “peaceful, armed demonstrations” in Washington, DC and at state capitals around the United States on January 17 to protest the results of the election in 2020.
An FBI spokesman confirmed the call but did not provide further details.
The FBI said federal law enforcement is currently working to identify suspected extremists who could pose a threat at the planned armed demonstrations.
During the call, FBI officials said they remain concerned about the prospect of extremists appearing at planned rallies and committing violence, and that violent domestic extremists continue to pose the most significant threat to Biden’s inauguration, according to another source known to the call.
“The chats are out of the charts right now,” a CNN official said Tuesday about extremists talking online about future actions.
Federal officials stressed the call for state, local, tribal and college law enforcement officials that the FBI will not tolerate extremists using the First Amendment as a guide to inciting violence, adding that they expect threats to continue. past Biden’s inauguration, the source said.
In addition to the potential threats to government buildings, officials discussed seeing an increasing number of threats against private companies and their managers in recent days.
According to the source, federal officials said during the call that Russian actors have reinforced the false narrative that members of Antifa infiltrated Trump supporters during the uprising in the US capital, and the Chinese have seized news stories showing chaos in the US.
The Secret Service report shows that the government is monitoring threats
Another government report sheds light on how law enforcement officials are monitoring the threat of potential violence in the coming days.
According to an internal US Secret Service report dated January 11 and obtained by CNN, analysts with the Secret Service team responsible for monitoring websites and social media for scheduled demonstrations note that protesters dissatisfied with the 2020 election results use online platforms to to organize events in the Washington area and around the country.
In an online forum observed by investigators, the report stated that a group calling itself “American Patriots Nationwide” is organizing a violent demonstration in Washington that begins on January 16. On its website, the group stated that they planned to use its members to enclose the Capitol. , The White House and the Supreme Court, and only allow entry for persons designated by Trump.
The Secret Service report said the U.S. Patriots Nationwide group also planned to detain Democratic politicians who “played a role in the planning or implementation or support of an attempted coup from the United States from 2016 to 2020.”
The Secret Service bulletin did not offer an assessment of the realistic nature of the planned rallies or how much confidence investigators have in the organizers’ ability to achieve their stated goals.
According to the report, groups associated with the Boogaloo movement planned to host an armed march from the Washington Monument to the White House, urging its members to bring weapons.
Other separate events noted in the Secret Service report also called on protesters to come armed, though organizers did not explicitly call for violence.
The District of Columbia has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and open carrying of firearms is prohibited.
For the inauguration day, secret service reports indicated that analysts identified more than 35 rallies scheduled online around Washington.
An event called Million Militia March encouraged participants to bring weapons. “The group claims they will not attack but will defend,” the Secret Service report noted.
As part of its protective mission, the Secret Service routinely reviews so-called “open source intelligence” to review scheduled rallies and protests held in the vicinity of official events. The Secret Service report obtained by CNN showed that recent media companies ‘efforts to suspend users involved in election-related disinformation have actually hindered analysts’ ability to identify some details of planned inauguration protests.
Not all of the planned demonstrations listed in the Secret Service report were pro-Trump.
According to analysts, a group is planning a meeting called “Smoking for Trump’s grief,” in which participants meet to smoke marijuana and celebrate the end of Trump’s presidency.
Another planned DC event, called the “Lesbian U-Haul Trump Out Parade,” is being organized to help move Trump out of the White House, though the Secret Service did not specify what logistics the group planned to use to achieve its stated goal .