The FBI is calling on police chiefs across the country to be on high alert for extremist activity ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, The New York Times reported late Wednesday.
During a Wednesday call, FBI director Christopher Wray, and Kenneth Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, warned police chiefs about potential attacks or a repeat of pipe bombs on state capitols, federal buildings, lawmakers’ homes, and businesses, one of the chiefs on the call told the Times.
The call comes as federal authorities issued an intelligence bulletin dated Jan. 13, warning of potential violence ahead of the inauguration and specifically mentioning concerns about extremists aligned with QAnon conspiracy theories, that have been repeatedly advanced by President Donald Trump.
In the bulletin, written by the National Counterterrorism Center and the Justice and Homeland Security Departments and obtained by the Times, federal officials said that extremist groups have lauded the siege at the US Capitol last week as a victory and have been further motivated by the death of Ashli Babbit, a military veteran and QAnon follower who was shot by the police as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby. The extremists could perceive that death as “an act of martyrdom,” officials said.
The widely-distributed bulletin had also warned law enforcement that the Capitol attack last week would be a “significant driver of violence” for armed militia groups and racist extremists who are targeting Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Extremists hoping to initiate a race war “may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States,” officials wrote.
Officials said the “boogaloo,” movement which aims to start a second civil war could be active next week, noting that the movement “shared false narrative of a ‘stolen’ election.'”
According to the bulletin that narrative “may lead some individuals to adopt the belief that there is no political solution to address their grievances and violent action is necessary.”