WASHINGTON – Analysts from the FBI’s Intelligence Division gathered information about possible violence at the Capitol on January 6. But the FBI never distributed a formal intelligence bulletin, because of concerns that it could be a move away from free speech protection, a current and two former senior FBI officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.
While the FBI did share some threat intelligence with law enforcement, the lack of a comprehensive joint intelligence bulletin — compiled by the FBI’s intelligence arm — that would have assessed potential threats and shared them with relevant law enforcement agencies – The Capitol Police and the FBI lacked a complete picture of what extremists were saying to the plan to attack the Capitol from human sources and social media postings.
Former officials said the reluctance to distribute such a document exposed a prolonged FBI dilemma, under which the bureau has been frugal about disseminating intelligence related to far-flung or far-flung domestic terrorism, While regularly issuing bulletins about threats from violent Americans who have adopted the ideology. Of Al Qaeda or ISIS.
A former FBC analyst told NBC News, “For every big event in DC and even for sporting events like the World Series, they produce a special event bulletin.” Another former FBI official said that this time it did not happen because of concerns that FBI analysts were investigating on social media about the amount of his protected speech.
Officials said the disproportionate treatment of domestic terrorism goes beyond intelligence. The former analyst said that when a major incident occurs in Washington, the major international terrorism “subjects” are kept under FBI surveillance 24/7 to ensure that they do not try to do anything during the incident. “Nothing like this happens for domestic terrorism subjects.”
Violence is not threatened under the First Amendment, but the line between protected speech and threats can be difficult to understand. Because terrorist organizations are designated under Al Qaeda and ISIS law, the FBI somehow feels more free to disseminate intelligence about the Americans associated with them. There are no designations for domestic terrorist groups.
A senior FBI official confirmed to NBC News that the FBI had indicated that the extremist Capitol was asking for violent action on January 6 but felt compelled to share some information on First Amendment concerns.
When asked about this, a second senior FBI official confirmed that no intelligence bulletin had been published, but did not speak on the issue of whether there was a debate about a publication.
The head of the FBI’s Washington field office, Steven D’Antuno, told reporters Friday that the FBI had no intelligence that the violence was going on before January. 6. He informed the reporters on Tuesday that the bureau reversed itself in a briefing. , Has some intelligence. The bureau identified extremists who intended to travel to Washington and sought to stop them, he said, confirming a story first reported Sunday by NBC News.
He said that some information about potential violence from social media and human sources was shared with members of a DC-area law enforcement group called the Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Metropolitan (DC) Police and The Capitol Police are involved.
“This information was immediately disseminated through a written product and conveyed to all levels of law enforcement through our order operations,” he said.
Current and former officials familiar with the matter said the “written product” was not a formal intelligence bulletin.
D’Antuono did not describe the information collected and shared by the FBI, and NBC News did not have access to specific details of other intelligence that the FBI analysts wanted to disseminate. In recent times, it has become clear from social media posts that by now the Wright group had been planning an invasion of the Capitol for some time, including coordinating the trip and posting pictures of weapons individuals whom they had with themselves There were plans to bring But according to the former chief, the Capitol Police was not prepared for such an organized attack, which was forced after the defeat.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the FBI’s Norfolk, Va., Field office aired a report the day before the riots warned that extremists were coming to Washington to “wage war.”
D’Antuono described information from Norfolk as “a thread on a message board” that was not attributed to any specific person. He said that when his office received the information, “We provided information within 40 minutes to our federal and state law enforcement partners in our command post.” He said it was recorded in the DC Joint Terrorism Task Force system and shared with the FBI’s law enforcement partners through that process.
Several news organizations, including NBC News, published stories dating back to January 6, reporting on calls by extremists to march and occupy the Capitol. Some of those social media postings included talk of violence.
On January 8, NBC News reported that users on the fringe message board 8kun, which is popular with QAnon’s followers, talked for weeks about the siege of the Capitol, with some like a foregone conclusion about it.
The day before the siege the 8kun user said, “You can go to Washington on January 6 and help storm the capital.” “Be as patriotic as we can be. We will demolish government buildings, kill police, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents and demand a withdrawal.”
Some experts say the lack of domestic terrorism law prevents the FBI from treating right-and-far groups that are similar to Americans who become radicalized by Al Qaeda or ISIS ideology of violence. But two former FBI officials spoke to NBC News on Tuesday about the case, arguing that the bureau is overly cautious and has not devoted the necessary resources to combat the domestic threat.
However, it is clear that the FBI is bowing down in the wake of the January 6 riots. An FBI memo on Saturday warned of the threat of armed protests at all 50 state capitals starting Saturday and revealed that an armed group threatened to travel to Washington, DC if Congress called on President Donald If Trump is removed from the post, there will be a bigger stage. The law enforcement officer told NBC News.
But law enforcement officials warned that the memo did not mean they expected violence in every state capitol. The bureau only felt a duty to warn.