Officials in Washington, D.C., reportedly received a warning from an FBI office in Virginia that violent extremists were planning to travel to the nation’s capital to commit acts of violence and “war.”
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that an FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, released a warning that there were calls for violence ahead of the January 6 joint session of Congress.
A document reviewed by the Post read, “As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington. D.C.”
“An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there, ready for war. We get our President, or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal,” it continued.
The BLM acronym appeared to be a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, and “Pantifa” appeared to be referring to the left-wing Antifa movement.
However, the Post reports that officials at the FBI raised concerns about the free speech rights of protesters.
“Individuals/Organizations named in this [situational information report] have been identified as participating in activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution … Their inclusion here is not intended to associate the protected activity with criminality or a threat to national security, or to infer that such protected activity itself violates federal law.”
However, the document added, “Based on known intelligence and/or specific historical observations, it is possible the protected activity could invite a violent reaction towards the subject individual or others in retaliation or with the goal of stopping the protected activity from occurring in the first instance.”
The document cited one individual who commented on a post online that “if Antifa or BLM get violent, leave them dead in the street.” Another individual discussed the need for “people on standby to provide supplies, including water and medical, to the front lines.”
“The individual also discussed the need to evacuate noncombatants and wounded to medical care,” it added.
The Post’s report comes almost a week after hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, interrupting Congressional proceedings to certify the presidential election results and leaving five dead.
As questions swirled over who security at the Capitol was so quickly overwhelmed, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, told reporters the agency had “no indication” that there was anything being planned “other than First Amendment-protected activity.”
“We worked diligently with our partners on this,” he added.
Trump declared a state of emergency in Washington, D.C., ahead of Biden’s inauguration as he noted the “emergency conditions” around the event.
The FBI has warned of the potential that there may be armed protests at state Capitols throughout the country, including the U.S. Capitol, from January 16 through January 20.