A new report claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew one day prior that extremists were planning to infiltrate the Jan. 6 protests in Washington, D.C., that ended in rioting at the U.S. Capitol.
According to The Washington Post, a report from the FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, contradicts claims that there had been no warnings of the violence that seemed to take Capitol police by surprise.
The FBI warning was reportedly contained in an “internal document” that was issued out the day before the Capitol incursion.
“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 allegedly said.
According to The Post, the internal memo reported an online thread that discussed violence at the Capitol building.
“Be ready to fight,” the thread reputedly said. “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.”
The document reportedly quoted one online comment that said, “if Antifa or BLM get violent, leave them dead in the street.”
Another comment cited in the alleged document said there would be a need for “people on standby to provide supplies, including water and medical, to the front lines.”
The outlet claimed the document noted that before the riots, individuals were sharing the layout of the tunnels connecting various buildings in the Capitol complex. It was also reported that there were conversations about potential locations in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina where those planning violence could meet before heading to Washington.
The purported document hedged on its warning, noting that potential extremist activity was also part of “activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
“However, 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,” it said, according to The Post.
Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said last week the FBI had no information that the protests planned for last Wednesday were anything more than a peaceful march.
He said in a Tuesday news conference that the document was shared “with all our law enforcement partners” through the joint terrorism task force, including the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police.
D’Antuono claimed that at the time, there was not much to be done based on that one warning.
“That was a thread on a message board that was being attributable to an individual person,” D’Antuono said at the news conference.
“When my Washington field office received that information, we briefed that within 40 minutes to our law enforcement partners, federal [and] state.”
The Post reported that former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned amid criticism of police response to the rioting and security failures at the Capitol, said he never knew about the warning.
“I did not have that information, nor was that information taken into consideration in our security planning,” Sund said.
The FBI issued a statement in response to the report that said, “standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products.” The bureau added, however, that field offices “routinely share information with their local law enforcement partners to assist in protecting the communities they serve.”
The Post report spurred a rare bipartisan effort to get to the truth of who was warned about the Capitol incursion and when.
On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California called for a House Judiciary Committee investigation into the matter on Twitter.
Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia also said an investigation is plainly needed, according to CNN.
“There is a clear breakdown of communications and operational chain of command,” he told the outlet.
“It would be interesting to see what the internal intelligence memos were for Capitol Police and support elements. My guess is that the intelligence reports would have had a possible Capitol incursion.”