Report: FBI warned of ‘violence,’ ‘war’ ahead of riots that killed 5 at Capitol

Agency had been monitoring social media activity that indicated ‘war’ was planned on the Hill

An internal document has revealed some of what the FBI knew before riots erupted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including that officials expected and warned of “violence” and had seen reports from online users that a “war” was to take place on that day.

The Washington Post has obtained the FBI documents, which includes a situational report approved for release a day before the rally supporting President Donald Trump. The rally led to a calamitous siege of the U.S. Capitol, which left five people, including a Capitol police officer, dead.

A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued a clear-cut warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war,” according to the internal document reviewed by the Post. The new findings contradict those of a senior official’s recent comments explaining that the bureau had no information to indicate the imminence of damage, injuries and death at a pro-Trump protest near the White House.

The report explains that dangerous plans were in place from individuals planning to meet up in places including Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington. Despite monitoring the online conversations of the potential anarchists, the report did not have specific identities of the would-be assailants. There was also concern, by the unidentified author of the document, that the FBI could be revoking free speech rights by breaking up the protests in advance.

“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 reveals. “An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. 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 “BLM” in the note refers to the Black Lives Matter movement, while the mention of “Pantifa” likely speaks to the derogatory term for Antifa, an anti-fascist movement whose followers at times engage in violent clashes with right-wing zealots.

The warning is the most telling yet that possibly a sizable intelligence failure occurred before the pandemonium at the Capitol. The official who revealed the document, under the terms of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, added the report was raw intelligence and that at the time it was written the FBI did not know the identities of those making the online statements.

Dozens of people have faced federal charges since the riots last week. On Monday, it was announced that two Capitol police officers were suspended and one security official was arrested as a result of their participation in the deadly insurrection. Multiple Capitol officers, as many as 15, are still under investigation for their failed response or involvement with the siege of the Capitol.

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