By Ilana Siyance
Senior law enforcement officials now say that the NYPD and FBI had warned of the possibility of a raid on the Capitol building on Wednesday, which tragically claimed five lives and led to the injuries of 50 police officers. The report by NBC News, asserts that the FBI even visited over a dozen extremists urging them not to participate, potentially preventing an even more violent situation.
It was previously asserted by a top FBI official that there was no indication that there would be violence as the Electoral College votes were certified. “Investigators have not found that there was an organized plot to access the Capitol,” a senior FBI official had said. “There was no intelligence that suggested there would be a breach of the U.S. Capitol,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said on Thursday. “There was no indication that there was anything [planned] other than First Amendment-protected activity,” said Steven D’Antuono, who leads the FBI’s Washington field office.
Reports are now coming in that there was information which intelligence authorities received before the Capitol riot. Questions have mounted, asking why the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies didn’t ramp up security for the day, or attribute more importance to the threats on social media postings.
Social media is flooded with evidence of what was about to erupt, experts say. As reported by NBC News, a digital flyer was made public as early as last month, on Instagram and Facebook referring to “Operation Occupy the Capitol.”
“You can go to Washington on Jan 6 and help storm the Capitol,” an 8kun user posted on the fringe message board, the day before the raid. “As many Patriots as can be. We will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”
“In regard to the protests planned for Jan. 6, the violent rhetoric we’re seeing online is at a new level. There are endorsements of violence across all of the platforms,” Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy Inc., told NBC News in a story published the day before the uprising.
A senior FBI official is now saying, “Prior to this event, the FBI obtained credible and actionable information about individuals who were planning on traveling to the protests who expressed a desire to engage in violence”. He added, “The FBI was able to discourage those individuals from traveling to D.C.” The official also said that the FBI “was prepared” and minimized the damage with “rapid response teams in reserve”. He noted that backup arrived “within 50 minutes of that request”, providing “protection to congressional members and staff.”