In another seeming intelligence lapse, dozens of people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list were in Washington D.C. on the day of the Capitol insurrection, according to the Washington Post.
The majority of those who were in D.C. and are listed in the Terrorist Screening Database are suspected white supremacists. Per the Post, it is not yet known if any of the rioters arrested so far are among those on the list.
The primary use of the database is so officials can track where the potentially dangerous people are traveling.
The report is another damning story for the FBI, following revelations from the Post that the agency did not act on an internal January 5 report that highlighted the swelling calls for violence at the Capitol among rightwing online communities.
According to head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Steven D’Antuono, the internal report was shared with law enforcement partners, but there wasn’t much else they could do with it because they didn’t know the identity of the people making the threats online. D’Antuono had previously said that the agency had no intelligence suggesting that January 6 would see anything but lawful protests. The now-former chief of Capitol Police Steven Sund said he never saw such a report, or his forces would have prepared differently.
The various law enforcement and intelligence agencies involved have been embroiled in criticism since the January 6 insurrection, as onlookers and those inside the Capitol were bewildered as to how the mob so easily breached a usually heavily guarded building. The first three people in the line of succession — Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Speaker Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — were inside the building when the raid occurred.
Now, as investigations are being launched and internal reckonings promised, law enforcement is bracing for more threats of violence from the same communities around President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration — both in Washington and at statehouses around the country.
An FBI bulletin first reported by ABC News warns of plans of armed protests and attempts to seize state capitols across the country from mid- to late-January. The bulletin also says that at least one organization is planning to try a repeat of the U.S. Capitol breach. Reinforcements, including 15,000 National Guard troops, are flooding into D.C. to prepare. Much of the areas around the Mall are already being encased in heavy-duty fencing and barricades.