NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war,” according to a report in The Washington Post
The report says the warning was issued internally by the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, a day before the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The warning directly contradicts statements from the Justice Department and FBI officials that they had no intelligence to suggest a storming of the Capitol.
The Post says the memo described how people had been sharing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels and discussing rallying points to meet up to travel to Washington. The newspaper reported that the document detailed posts calling for violence, including that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Antifa slave soldiers being spilled.”
It also said to “go there ready for war.”
The Associated Press and WAVY have not obtained the document.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a press conference Tuesday an FBI spokesperson said the information shared from the Norfolk office was linked to a single person on a message board.
He said law enforcement officials across the country were paged about the threat about 40 minutes later.
The Washington Post article was later updated following the press conference, which was held after the Post’s initial publication of the article, which the FBI press office pointed out in an email.
According to the update, the person who sent the report expressed concern the FBI might have been encroaching on free speech rights.
In the press conference Tuesday, head of the FBI Washington Field Office Steven D’Antuono said the Jan. 5 intelligence document was share with all law enforcement partners, including U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, D.C. police, and other federal and local agencies.
D’Antuono said there was little law enforcement could do with the information at the time because they did not know the identity of the person who made the comments.
Meanwhile, the former Capitol Police chief, who resigned after the chaos at the Capitol Wednesday, said he never received information about the FBI’s field bulletin, and if he did, he would have taken the warning seriously.
While it’s unclear if anyone from Hampton Roads planned for violence, a Chesapeake man who has been on the FBI’s radar in the past, Joshua Macias, was at the “Stop the Steal” rally last Wednesday. The cofounder of the group Vets for Trump was charged back in November after he and another man drove up to Philadelphia and were found with guns and ammunition near a vote counting center. The FBI had tipped police at the time. Prosecutors say “at minimum” Macias violated the conditions of his bail.
The agency is urging people who saw unlawful activity during the violent protests to submit information to them. The FBI has provided an online tips form.
The FBI also said people may call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) to report tips and/or information related to the investigation.
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