FBI offers chilling details of planned protests, New Jersey asks for public's help

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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The governor of New Jersey is asking residents to stay home as the FBI is expanding on threats to all state capitals ahead of Inauguration Day.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey is asking for the public's help to report suspicious activity ahead of Inauguration Day, this as the FBI is expanding on the threats to Washington DC and state capitals in the coming days.

In an update to the bulletin ABC News obtained earlier this week, the FBI offered chilling details from enforcement actions taken since the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

The updated bulletin, obtained by ABC News, mentioned an individual from Concord, North Carolina, who was observed loading ammunition boxes and preparing "gear" to take to Washington, DC, for an attack on the Capitol planned for Inauguration Day.

"This individual stormed the US Capitol last week and posted pictures on social media," the bulletin read. "This individual, who is part of an identified group, claimed he hurt individuals during the storming of the US Capitol, and he will hurt anyone in his way. This individual possesses semi-automatic rifles, explosives, a gas mask, and bulletproof equipment."

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The FBI also received a report that an individual located in Manchester, Tennessee, who participated in the US Capitol riot intended to return to Washington, DC, on January 20 to disrupt and potentially commit acts of violence at the inauguration.

"The individual referenced turning phones to airplane mode and using ground travel to accomplish the disruption," the bulletin said.

The document said information was received regarding a video posted on an identified website encouraging people to kill senators and Congress members. The poster of the video was identified via social media exploitation.

The video was threatening violence in Washington, DC, on Inauguration day and advised people to bring guns.

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The bulletin repeats the earlier warning that there are "armed protests planned at all 50 state capitals from 16 January through at least 20 January."

President Donald Trump released a video statement Wednesday night and called for an end to further violence. While he did not mention being impeached or take responsibility for last week's attack, he did condemn the violence.

"Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation's most sacred traditions and values mob violence goes against everything I believe in, and everything our movement stands for," he said. "No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence, no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect, law enforcement, or our great American flag, no true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans. If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement, you're attacking it, and you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it."

While every state is preparing, as a practical matter, the FBI and Homeland Security are most concerned about the potential for violence in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where election controversies became overheated and there's a considerable presence of supporters of armed militia movements, according to law enforcement sources.

Additionally, the FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism issued joint intelligence bulletin painting a horrifying picture of the dangerous situation the country faces in the wake of last week's siege.

The riots in DC were both the result of the current dangerous environment, analysts report, but the siege is also serving to fuel the growing danger because violent extremists are viewing the events of January 6 as a "success." The document also points out the danger posed by conspiracy theories and QAnon, and how extremist groups are now working together.

The document, titled "Domestic Violent Extremists Emboldened in Aftermath of Capitol Breach, Elevated Domestic Terrorism Threat of Violence Likely Amid Political Transitions and Beyond," says domestic extremists "citing partisan political grievances will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021."

"The 6 January 2021 violent breach by suspected DVEs (domestic violent extremists) into the US Capitol Building very likely will serve as a significant driver of violence for a diverse set of DVEs," it read. "Attendance at the lawful protest by ideologically diverse DVEs and others, the subsequent engagement of a sizeable group from that protest in the breach, and the death of an individual directly engaged in the breach very likely will serve to galvanize DVEs and increase collaboration primarily between (militia violent extremists) and (racially motivated violent extremists), as well as DVEs who adhere to QAnon conspiracy theories. These DVEs and others may also perceive the event as a step toward achieving their initiatives, and consider the death of a perceived like-minded individual as an act of martyrdom. Some DVEs view the 6 January event as a success, in conjunction with the potential to exploit follow-on lawful gatherings and ideological drivers -- including conspiracy theories, such as QAnon -- likely will also inspire some DVEs and others to engage in more sporadic, lone actor or small cell violence against common DVE targets, including racial, ethnic, or religious minorities and institutions, law enforcement, and government officials and buildings."

The bulletin labels Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed during the siege, as "an alleged QAnon supporter." And the analysis points out that martyrdom of movement believers has motivated domestic terrorists to attack in the past, specifically referencing Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, that led to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Conspiracy theories and the breach of the Capitol also "will likely lead to an increased DVE threat towards representatives of federal, state and local governments across the United States, particularly in the lead-in to the 20 January Presidential Inauguration...and with the perception among some DVEs that the breach of the US Capitol Building was a significant advance toward achieving their ideological goals, DVEs may be inspired to carry out more violence, including violence against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities and associated institutions, journalists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other targets common among some DVEs."

In New Jersey, Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples urged the public to report anything suspicious.

"NJOHSP remains firm in its commitment to protect New Jersey from all threats, including those stemming from violent protests at the US Capitol Building last week," the statement read. "We are in contact with our federal, State, and local law enforcement partners to monitor the evolving situation surrounding these events and prevent violence of any kind. We are taking proactive steps to halt possible attempts at violence. We seek the public's assistance and as that if you 'See Something, Say Something' by reporting suspicious activity to local authorities or NJOHSP's Counterterrorism Watch Desk at 1-866-SAFE-NJ or tips@njohsp.gov."

Governor Phil Murphy said the state would be prepared and was taking steps to keep Trenton safe.

"Unfortunately and sadly, I've already had several meetings on this, and we have several more to come," he said. "We are going to be prepared as we can for it. This whole notion of inciting people to be violent, this is the last thing we need right now in our country. The Capitol policeman who died, Brian Sicknick, was a Jersey guy, so it cuts close to home. The answer is yes, we are preparing for the worst, hoping for the best."

A Defense official says that the National Guard has now been authorized to have up to 20,000 Guardsmen in DC for inauguration security and that most may be in town by this weekend.

It is a big ramp-up from the 15,000 that had been previously approved and the 10,000 expected to be in place by this weekend.

The official says that the increase in authorization is due to further requests from the federal agencies involved in Inauguration security, including the Secret Service, FBI and the Capitol Police.

The official said that the states have been stepping up to provide Guardsmen as requested.


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