FBI tracking 'extensive' online chatter about armed protests

15 Janvier, 2021, 19:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • FBI warns of potential armed protests across country

Supporters of President Donald Trump rampaged in the building following a speech in which the Republican urged them to fight Democrat President-elect Joe Biden's election victory. Trump falsely claims he lost because of widespread voting fraud.

They join the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees investigating security lapses at the Capitol complex on January 6 which resulted in rioters entering the building and threatening legislators, congressional staff and members of the media.

Wray also said that law enforcement was aware of and monitoring "an extensive amount of concerning online chatter" ahead of President-elect Biden's inauguration next week, but added that authorities were having to sift through "what's aspirational versus what's intentional".

Pence thanked the FBI's aggressive posture on bringing to justice those who desecrated the seat of the democracy last week. The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach Trump on charges of incitement.

"Since the January 6 siege, intelligence officials have seen Chinese, Iranian and Russian efforts to fan the violent rhetoric, according to a joint threat assessment dated Thursday", the Times reports.

"The prevalent consensus across the movements involved in or supporting the Capitol siege is that they will keep pushing forward."

Federal authorities are warning state leaders to be prepared for attacks across the country in the days before Biden's inauguration.

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The memo mentions other acts of violence on Capitol grounds from January 6 - including two explosive devices that were left outside the Republican and Democratic national committees' headquarters and nooses and plastic restraints carried by rioters "possibly to demonstrate their intent to cause harm to government officials".

Similar fears were voiced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who said that as a precaution, he had called up more than 400 National Guard troops and closed state offices in Columbus until 21 January.

"In 2021, threats and plotting of illegal activity, including destruction of property and violence targeting officials at all levels of the government, law enforcement, journalists, and infrastructure, as well as sporadic violence surrounding lawful protests, rallies, demonstrations, and other gatherings by DVEs will very likely increase due to renewed measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, socio-political conditions, and perceived government overreach", the memo, released Wednesday, warns.

Twitter also shut down more than 70,000 accounts affiliated with the conspiracy theory QAnon, believers of which are thought to have been involved in the recent riots.

The FBI has already warned of armed protests being planned in Washington and all 50 state capitals in the run-up to the inauguration, including three separate plots to attack the Capitol.

Separately, it has emerged the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security did not do a formal threat assessment prior to the riots despite having warned law enforcement agencies about the potential for extremist-driven violence.

The warning has been sent out to law enforcement agencies across the country.



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