When the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol happened Wednesday, most of America was caught off guard. I stress “most” because while the average person watched with horror as it unfolded on our televisions, there were people who did know what was going to happen, and they did absolutely nothing about it.
The Washington Post reports that the day before the insurrection took place, an FBI office in Virginia “issued an explicit internal warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war’,” directly contradicting the word of Steven D’Antuono, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, who claimed there was no intelligence to indicate pro-Trump supporters planned to do harm.
From the Post:
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 up 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.”
As the Post explains, “BLM” is a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, “Pantifa” is a derogatory term for “antifa,” the “nefarious” and oft-involved boogeyman that the Post defines as “a far-left anti-fascist movement whose adherents sometimes engage in violent clashes with right-wing extremists.”
The author of the report also expressed concern “that the FBI might be encroaching on free speech rights,” according to the Post.
An FBI source told the Post that the report was written within 45 minutes of them becoming aware of the online thread and shared it within the bureau. It is unclear whether any law enforcement agencies outside the bureau were told, and if so how many, but FBI officials at the Washington Field Office were briefed the day before the insurrection.
And still, nothing was done.
More from the Post:
Multiple law enforcement officials have said privately in recent days that the level of violence exhibited at the Capitol has led to difficult discussions within the FBI and other agencies about race, terrorism, and whether investigators failed to register the degree of danger because the overwhelming majority of the participants at the rally were White conservatives fiercely loyal to the President Trump.
“Individuals/Organizations named in this [situational information report] have been identified as participating in activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the document says. “Their inclusion here is not intended to associate the protected activity with criminality or a threat to national security, or to infer that such protected activity itself violates federal law.
“However,” it continues, “based on known intelligence and/or specific historical observations, it is possible the protected activity could invite a violent reaction towards the subject individual or others in retaliation or with the goal of stopping the protected activity from occurring in the first instance. In the event no violent reaction occurs, FBI policy and federal law dictates that no further record to be made of the protected activity.”
Reached for comment, the FBI said in a statement to the Post that its “standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products,” adding that FBI field offices “routinely share information with their local law enforcement partners to assist in protecting the communities they serve.”
At this point, it is unclear who within the bureau saw the document and what if anything was done in response to it.
What we do know is a crazed mob took over the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and there was intelligence that could have prevented that from happening.
Everyone is complicit.