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Did the FBI ignore threats of violence to the Capitol?

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Jan. 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — On Jan. 4, the intelligence division of the U.S. Capitol Police issued a report listing all the groups known to be descending on the city and planning to rally for former President Donald Trump two days later, such as the Prime Time Patriots, the MAGA Marchers and Stop the Steal.

The report gave low odds that any of the groups might break laws or incite violence, labeling the chances as “improbable,” “highly improbable” or “remote.”

But just a day earlier the same office presented a more ominous picture.

The Capitol Police’s intelligence division, which gathers intelligence from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, warned of desperation about “the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election” and the potential for significant danger to law enforcement and the public.

In light of the conflicting reports, the former Chief of the Capitol Police Steven A. Sund make a request several days before January 6, asking for National Guard troops. But the request was denied at that time by his bosses, the sergeants-at-arms of the House and the Senate. 

Last week, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda D. Pittman told congress, “We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.” The department ramped up its defenses, she said, “but we did not do enough.”

The New York Times reported on Friday:

The F.B.I. was aware of violent online posts before the rally, with the bureau’s field office in Norfolk, Va., issuing a report that flagged one anonymous thread that warned of a looming war at the Capitol...Still, the mob that stormed the Capitol was filled with members of groups that the FBI had identified as domestic terrorism threats, like militias, white supremacists and adherents of the QAnon conspiracy.

These reports raise serious questions. Why were the requests from Capitol Police denied? Why didn’t the FBI take proactive action against known threats?

Read the full New York Times report here.


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