The FBI’s investigation into the US Capitol siege has found that dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were among those in Washington DC at the time.
Sources told the Washington Post that some of those who attended the pro-Trump events in DC on January 6 are listed on the national Terrorist Screening Database.
The majority of those on that list are suspected white supremacists.
The database is different to the no-fly list that the government uses to stop terror suspects from boarding flights.
It adds to a list of growing security failures that have been identified in the wake of the siege.
Separately, it has emerged the FBI 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 two agencies would usually carry out assessments and then put out warnings to help law enforcement prepare for potential threats ahead of higher profile events.
But no formal report was released by either the FBI and Homeland Security prior to the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol at the hands of Trump supporters.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security did not do a formal threat assessment prior to last week’s Capitol riot despite having warned law enforcement agencies about the potential for extremist-driven violence. Pictured is FBI director Christopher Wray
Some officials have said the FBI and DHS chose not to issue alerts last week because they feared it would look like they were hindering First Amendment protections that allow people to protest peacefully.
Authorities have faced intense security in the wake of last week’s attack with Capitol Police facing the brunt of the criticism.
FBI officials said this week that the agency had warned Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies ahead of last week’s breach about the potential for extremist-driven violence.
It contradicted earlier statements that they were caught off guard by the assault despite warning signs on social media weeks earlier.
Capitol Police had only prepared for a free speech demonstration and no contingency plans were prepared in the event the situation escalated.
Some hard-line Trump supporters had spent a month posting glaring and violent warnings of the planned anarchy online, including threats to kill police and federal employees.
The social media posts, which called for people to come armed with weapons and zip ties, is just one example of the missed warnings that could have prevented the attack.
FBI officials said this week that the agency had warned Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies ahead of last week’s breach about the potential for extremist-driven violence
Some hard-line Trump supporters had spent a month posting glaring and violent warnings online of the planned anarchy, including threats to kill police and federal employees
Despite Capitol Police facing intense security, it has also since emerged that FBI inspectors gave its Washington DC field office an F grade two years ago after evaluation its domestic terrorism program.
The inspectors found the office ‘had few sources or understanding of the threat in their area of responsibility’ despite being the top target in the country, NBC reports.
Given the events of last week, security has been intensifying in DC ahead of Biden’s inauguration with up to 20,000 National Guard troops being called in to protect and fortify the capital and law enforcement on heightened alert over possible armed protests and attacks.
A dire bulletin issued by the National Counterterrorism Center and the Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Wednesday warned of threats from armed militia groups and racist extremists.
It did not detail specific plots to target next week’s inauguration but warned that extremists largely viewed the violent breach of the Capitol as a success.
The joint intelligence bulletin, obtained by the New York Times, said extremists ‘may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States’.
Given the events of last week, security has been intensifying in DC ahead of Biden’s inauguration with up to 20,000 National Guard troops being called in to protect and fortify the capital and law enforcement on heightened alert
The warning has been sent out to law enforcement agencies across the country. 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.
In a call with thousands of police chiefs across the country on Wednesday, the FBI also urged law enforcement to be on high alert for any extremist activity and to share any intelligence they come across.
The FBI said it was closely monitoring online activity related to planned plots and extremists but urged local law enforcement to be aware of lone wolf attacks, as well as violence planned by larger groups.
Federal authorities warned in the bulletin that extremists have been roused by the death of military veteran Ashli Babbit, who was fatally shot by police after storming the Capitol. The bulletin warned that Babbit’s death could be considered ‘an act of martyrdom’ by some extremists in their plots to target the inauguration.
The bulletin said it was possible some extremists and militia groups believed ‘violent action is necessary’ because there ‘is no political solution to address their grievances’ given the false narrative of a stolen election that has been peddled by President Trump.
Warnings have also been issued about possible armed protests from the Boogaloo Boys – a movement that aims to start a second Civil War.