According to FBI intelligence, Donald Trump supporters
were openly discussing bringing weapons to the US Capitol
on January 6
to launch a "revolution," according to NBC News
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray
told the House Oversight Committee
that the agency "did not have actionable intelligence that indicated that hundreds of people
were going to breach or storm the Capitol."
According to NBC, an FBI Special Agent Patricia Norden investigation
report released in February stated that “users in multiple online groups and platforms discussed traveling to the Capitol armed or making plans to start a ‘revolution’ on that day,” and that “individuals participating in the ‘Stop the Steal
’ rally were angered about the results of the 2020 presidential election
According to Norden, references to revolution were discovered “in a review of open source and social media
posts leading up to and during the event.”
The agent's report did not specify when the FBI became aware of the calls for revolution, but the information appeared to be easily accessible prior to January 6.
Wray appeared evasive about what social media intelligence the FBI may have gathered during his House testimony last Tuesday.
“We have very specific policies... that govern our ability to use social media,” he explained. “When we have an authorized purpose and proper predication, there’s a lot we can do on social media, and we do, and we aggressively do, but what we can’t do... without proper predication and an authorized purpose, [is] just monitor ‘just in case’ on social media.”
During the hearing, Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) revealed that the panel had obtained documents proving that the social media company Parler, a favorite of extremists, had referred evidence of planned violence at the United States
Capitol to the FBI more than 50 times, and that the company “even alerted law
enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol,” according to Ma.
Maloney cited posts that said, “This is not a rally or a protest
. This is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill
.” Another said, “Everyone is coming with weapons.” One said, “Don't be surprised if we take the Capitol.”
Wray responded that he was not aware of the posts or that Parler had contacted his office prior to the violence, but that branch offices might have been aware.
2. [email protected]
: Does the FBI monitor social media to combat violent extremism
(such as threats to the Capitol on social media prior to #Jan6)Wray: DOJ
policy prevents the FBI from monitoring social media without "proper predication"DOJ policy: Can monitor social media WITHOUT predication for special events (like Jan 6
) pic.twitter.com/UDEtWnB6Gs — Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) June 17, 2021
In a Washington
Post opinion piece, New York University
law professors Ryan Goodman and Andrew Weissmann criticized Wray's testimony as "stingy and unenlightening." Goodman previously worked as a special counsel at the Defense Department
, and Weissmann previously served as FBI general counsel.
“Like many Americans, lawmakers have been astounded that the FBI and other agencies failed to detect the threats of violence broadcast for weeks on social media by Trump supporters and militia groups prior to January 6,” they wrote.
“There were acts of violence and widely publicized threats of more in the run-up to Jan. 6, and FBI internal rules would have allowed an assessment of those dangers,” they added.
Norden's report was cited in a court filing as part of the FBI's reasoning for opening an investigation into retired New York Police Department
officer Thomas Webster, who was indicted in March on seven criminal counts after admitting to attacking a U.S. Capitol Police
officer during the riot; Webster has pleaded not guilty, claiming he was struck first.
The Justice Department
released body-camera footage of Webster at the Capitol last week, which you can see here, but be warned: it's disturbing:
NEW: The Justice Department has just released horrifying new footage from 1/6. Feds say this is ex-NYPD officer Thomas Webster (red jacket) wielding a flagpole, rushing at cops, and tackling a cop to the ground. DOJ released this following legal action by CNN
and other outlets. (warning: explicit) pic.twitter.com/yf7DQQFMWr — Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) June 17, 2021