WASHINGTON (AP/WTNH) — Every state is now on high alert after the FBI sent out a warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-election Joe Biden’s inauguration.
This stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The FBI issued at least one other bulletin — they go out to law enforcement nationwide on the topic — before the riots last week. On Dec. 29, it warned of the potential for armed demonstrators targeting legislatures, the second official said.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on Monday that the Guard is also looking at any issues across the country,
“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.”
In Hartford, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont says his office and law enforcement are monitoring the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol last week very closely.
One of the things they’re doing, the governor says, is monitoring social media.
They also have plans and policies in place to protect all who enter their grounds and capitol building. They will be planning accordingly.
Governor Lamont and his team were asked about these protests and their preparation in a press conference Monday.
This is what they had to say:
Governor Ned Lamont said, “We’ll be ready…I have a high degree of confidence Connecticut is going to stand peaceful.”
Governor’s Chief of Staff Paul Mounds added, “The Connecticut National Guard has been directed by the governor that upon requests that come in to the Connecticut National Guard that we stand ready to provide support to our partners down in DC.”
Hartford’s Mayor Luke Bronin warned, “To anyone who is thinking of participating, we fully support the right to express yourself consistent with the First Amendment. But, we will not tolerate or accept anything like what we saw in Washington, D.C. That was not a protest, that was a riot. It was insurrection.”
We expect to learn more about these plans and how they will stand ready in the days to come.
In a statement to News 8 Monday night, the FBI New Haven office said, “While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI is supporting our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve. Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity. As we do in the normal course of business, we are gathering information to identify any potential threats and are sharing that information with our partners. The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
The riots at the Capitol last Wednesday followed weeks of online calls for violence in Washington in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
A tweet in which Trump promised that last Wednesday’s event “will be wild” fueled a “month-long frenzy of incitements, strategizing, and embrace of violence against lawmakers,” according to a research group that tracks online extremism activity, In a report issued Saturday, the SITE Intelligence Group also warns that the Capitol attack has emboldened Trump-supporting extremists.
“No matter how all this plays out, its only the beginning,” posted a user on TheDonald message board, according to the report.
Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland.