CNN has learned that federal law enforcement officials, in a series of bulletins and an appeal with local partners this week, issued an urgent call for help in securing the country’s capital before the inauguration and painted a bleak picture of potential threats through January. 20.
Officials warned that Wednesday’s attack on U.S. Capitol Hill by supporters of President Donald Trump is likely to motivate further attacks by extremists in 2021, according to an intelligence report obtained Wednesday by CNN.
Warning that those who attacked Capitol Hill consider their efforts largely successful, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the attack is likely to serve as a major driver of violence for various domestic extremist groups, the bulletin said.
The joint bulletin of US government intelligence agencies was first published by the New York Times.
The violent break-in at the US Capitol building is likely part of a current trend in which (extremists) are using legitimate protests, demonstrations and other gatherings to carry out violent and criminal activities motivated by ideology, the intelligence community warned.
The range of possible future targets varies, and in the newsletter the intelligence community warned that extremists could target government officials and institutions, as well as racial and religious minorities, journalists and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The bulletin also reported that the attack on the 6. The month of January may have served as a pretext for extremists with various ideological motives to strengthen their ties.
In addition to the perceived success of the attack on Capitol Hill on the 6th. Intelligence agencies warned in January that a response from law enforcement could also incite extremists to violence, especially at Biden’s upcoming inauguration.
Since (the Capitol Hill attack), violent rhetoric has increased online over (the inauguration), with a number of calls for unspecified justice for the rioter shot by police on Capitol Hill, according to the newsletter.
Other possible motives for future attacks include anti-government stances by extremists and discontent over misinformation that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
The growing prevalence and influence of conspiracy theories based on the belief in the existence of global or entrenched state actors working to manipulate various social, political, and/or economic conditions in the United States are likely the driving force behind some acts of (extremist) violence, according to the report.
The language of conspiracy theories observed by U.S. intelligence agencies often mirrors Trump’s unsubstantiated claims. Throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump claimed without evidence that a malicious group of government officials was secretly working to undermine his presidency, and he continued to spread misinformation about the integrity of the 2020 election.
Federal authorities cooperate with police across the country
As law enforcement prepares to respond to upcoming protests before and during the inauguration, FBI Director Chris Wray and Acting Under Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli on Wednesday called law enforcement officials across the country to inform them of the threat posed by the planned nationwide protests, according to a person briefed on the call.
The source said the FBI has notified its law enforcement partners of intelligence reports that protesters plan to hold peaceful armed demonstrations in Washington and U.S. state capitals on Jan. 17 to protest the 2020 election results.
An FBI spokesman confirmed the call, but gave no further details.
As CNN has reported, an internal FBI bulletin distributed to law enforcement warned that armed demonstrations were planned in all 50 state capitals and at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in the days leading up to the inauguration.
The FBI has stated that federal law enforcement agencies are currently working to identify any suspected extremists who might pose a threat during planned armed demonstrations.
In the call, FBI officials said they are still concerned about the possibility of extremists showing up at planned rallies and committing acts of violence, and that violent domestic extremists remain the most serious threat to the Biden inauguration, according to another known source in the call.
An official told CNN Tuesday that extremists are talking online about future actions.
In a call to law enforcement officials at state, local, tribal and university campuses, federal officials said the FBI will not tolerate extremists using the First Amendment as a guide to incite violence, adding that they expect the threats to continue after Biden’s inauguration, the source said.
In addition to potential threats against government buildings, officials in recent days discussed the increasing number of threats against private companies and their executives.
According to the source, federal officials said by phone that Russian actors were reinforcing a false story that Antifa members infiltrated Trump during the unrest on U.S. Capitol Hill and that the Chinese had seized messages about chaos in the United States.
An intelligence report shows that the government is monitoring the threats
Another government report sheds light on how law enforcement is monitoring the threat of possible violence in the coming days.
According to an internal US intelligence report from 11. In January, obtained by CNN, analysts from the intelligence team that monitors websites and social media for planned protests noted that protesters are dissatisfied with the 2020 election results and are using online platforms to stage events in the Washington area and across the country.
An Internet forum monitored by investigators reported that a group calling itself American Patriots of the Nation staged a violent protest in Washington, D.C., on the 16th. The month of January has begun. The group said on its website that it plans to use its members to surround the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court and to let only Trump appointees in.
The intelligence report indicates that the USA Patriots Nationwide group also plans to arrest Democratic political figures who played a role in planning, executing or supporting an attempted coup in the United States between 2016 and 2020.
The Secret Service bulletin did not assess whether the planned rallies were realistic or the extent to which investigators had confidence in the organizers’ ability to achieve their goals.
According to the report, groups affiliated with the Bugaloo movement planned an armed march from the Washington Monument to the White House and encouraged their members to bring weapons.
Other individual events cited in the intelligence report also encouraged protesters to arm themselves, although organizers did not explicitly call for violence.
The District of Columbia has some of the strictest firearms laws in the country and it is illegal to openly carry a firearm.
Between now and Inauguration Day, analysts have identified more than 35 planned online rallies around Washington, according to the Secret Service report.
At one of the events, the March for a Million Militia Men, participants were invited to bring weapons. The group says it will not attack, but will defend itself, according to the intelligence report.
As part of its protection mission, the Secret Service regularly evaluates what is known as open-source intelligence to analyze scheduled meetings and events in the vicinity of official events. An intelligence report obtained by CNN shows that recent attempts by social media companies to suspend users who engage in election-related disinformation have essentially prevented analysts from uncovering details of the planned protests against the inauguration.
Not all of the planned events listed in the intelligence report were favorable to Trump.
According to analysts, a group is planning a gathering called Smoking in Trump Mountain, where participants will gather to smoke marijuana and celebrate the end of Trump’s presidency.
Another planned event in Washington, called the U-Haul Trump Lesbian Parade, is being organized to help Trump leave the White House, although Secret Service officials have not indicated what logistical support the group plans to use to achieve its stated goal.