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Police Stepped Up Surveillance Efforts After January 6th Insurrection

Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department recorded threats to lawmakers and public facilities in the wake of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, according to documents made public in a ransomware hack on their systems this month. The documents show how, in the month following the Capitol siege, police stepped up surveillance efforts, monitoring hotel bookings, protests in other jurisdictions, and social media sites for signs of another attack by far-right groups on targets in the nation’s capital, including Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The revelation of the seriousness of the threats comes amid Republican opposition to forming a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January attack, which saw the Capitol overrun by violent mobs hunting for politicians, resulting in the deaths of five people on the day and several subsequent deaths in the days that followed, including Capitol Office Brian Sicknick. In the aftermath of the riot, the attention of police and other law enforcement agencies was focused on far-right activity on social media platforms, and especially on a group calling itself Patriot Action for America.

WASHINGTON DC – JANUARY 6 Thousands of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol to support the President’s baseless claims and lies that he won the election on January 6, 2021 in Washington DC. Trump has asked his supporters including members of the extremist male chauvinist group Proud Boys to protest the election results. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The police documents were stolen and published by the ransomware attack group Babuk, and various outlets published stories based on the data showing intelligence indicating that far-right groups such as the Boogaloo Bois planned to attack various targets in the nation’s capital. Another collection of documents labeled “chiefs intelligence briefings” shows a broad effort across several law enforcement agencies in the days following the attack on the Capitol to identify suspects, monitor and apprehend far-right actors, and anticipate further attacks on Washington.

For example, one police bulletin dated January 13th said that the Boogaloos had been “calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local, and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as president prior to inauguration day”. It also mentions a “possible second suspect” in the placement of pipe bombs near the DNC and RNC, who was “observed on video scouting/taking photographs in advance of the placement”, who “took a metro to the East Falls church stop and took a Lyft from there”.

The threats continued for weeks after the attack. Almost a month later, a bulletin reported that “an identified militia group member” in Texas was claiming that if their “operation failed at the US Capitol”, there was a “back-up plan” involving the group “detonating bombs at the US Capitol during the State of the Union”.

Capitol Police have shared 14,000+ hours of surveillance footage with lawmakers probing the January 6th insurrection, as well as “numerous clips” requested by the House Intelligence Committee.

 



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