Posts tagged with "U.S. Capitol Police"

Ex-FBI official says law enforcement needs to take Sept. 18 right-wing rally in DC ‘very seriously’

September 8, 2021

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said on Monday evening, September 6,  that law enforcement needs to take the upcoming right-wing rally in support of jailed January 6 rioters “very seriously” as concerns mount about more potential violence on Capitol Hill, CNN reports.

“I think they should take it very seriously. In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5,” McCabe, now a CNN contributor, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Law enforcement members in Washington are steeling themselves against possible unrest at the “Justice for J6″ rally—planned for September 18—which aims to support the insurrectionists charged in the riot.

The event, organized by a former Trump campaign staffer, has prompted security concerns on Capitol Hill, and some precautionary measures will be in place. However, it’s unclear how many protesters plan to attend. The rally is also taking place on a Saturday, when the House will be on recess, so far fewer lawmakers or staff will be around.

A law enforcement source previously told CNN that the Metropolitan Police Department will be fully activated, which includes canceling days off for sworn officers and putting Civil Disturbance Units on standby. The source said the department will monitor open source information—like online chatter and travel —to gauge the potential crowds.

Homeland Security Intelligence Chief John Cohen told CNN last month that online extremist rhetoric is strikingly similar to the buildup to the January 6 attack, with increasing calls for violence linked to conspiracy theories and false narratives.

The security preparations for September 18 underscore the tense environment on Capitol Hill following the January 6 attack. In August, a man critical of Democrats was arrested after an hours-long standoff near the Capitol during which he claimed to have an explosive device; the event ended without incident but still sent a chill through Capitol Hill and provided law enforcement with yet another example of the risks of a toxic political climate. In April, a Capitol Police officer was killed after a man rammed a vehicle into a police barricade.

The charged environment has led lawmakers to invest in body armor and security systems, while the U.S. Capitol Police is opening field offices in cities around the country.

Still, McCabe—who served as the FBI’s deputy director from 2016 to 2018, including a period as acting director—said Monday that law enforcement has “a few factors leaning in their favor” this time. “You don’t have a sitting President actively fanning the flames and trying to get people to attend the rally,” he said.

McCabe continued: “And on the other hand, it looks like, from all indications, our law enforcement partners are well prepared for this one. They seem to be taking the intelligence very seriously, which raises a question as to whether or not they did on January 6, but that’s another issue.”

Research contact: @CNN

Capitol Police say they are stepping up security based on intel on March 4 plot to breach Capitol

March 4, 2021

QAnon followers believe that former President Donald Trump will return to power on Thursday, March 4and U.S. Capitol Police officials said Wednesday that they have “obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on [on that date],” ABC News reports.

The intelligence is being taken “seriously,” the officials said in a statement posted on Twitter. But are they ready?

“We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers, the statement said, adding, “Our Department is working with our local, state, and federal partners to stop any threats to the Capitol. We are taking the intelligence seriously. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”

The statement issued Wednesday morning follows another Tuesday night in which officials said they had beefed up security, ABC News notes.

“The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4th and continues to work with all of our law enforcement partners,” the federal law enforcement agency said in that statement. “Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4th. The Department has communicated our enhanced posture as well as the available intelligence for the entire workforce.”

The threats appear to stem from QAnon, the umbrella term for a set of disproven and discredited internet conspiracy theories that allege the world is run by a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. Followers of the fringe movement believe that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen from Trump, who has pushed baseless claims of voter fraud along with his allies.

QAnon followers also believed that Trump would not actually leave office on Inauguration Day—but rather would declare martial law, announce mass arrests of Democrats, and stop Joe Biden from becoming president. When that didn’t happen, the date was moved from January 20 to March 4—the original inauguration day for all U.S. presidents prior to 1933.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation first labeled QAnon and its fluid online community of supporters as a “dangerous extremist group” in August 2019. A number of individuals believed to be QAnon followers have been charged for their alleged involvement in the deadly insurrection on January 6, when pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued a confidential assessment to law enforcement agencies, which was obtained by ABC News, saying that the threat of domestic violent extremism in 2020—largely driven by “violent anti-government or anti-authority narratives, periods of prolonged civil unrest and conspiracy theories”—is a trend that will likely continue in 2021 and “could escalate to include targeting of critical infrastructure.”

Research contact: @abcnews