As evidence mounts that some extremists had told the world what they had in mind through social media, questions are emerging about whether the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies took the postings seriously enough — and why, if they did, they didn’t step in until well after the building was under attack.
…”Prior to this event, the FBI obtained credible and actionable information about individuals who were planning on traveling to the protests who expressed a desire to engage in violence,” the senior FBI official said.
…The official added that “the FBI and our federal, state and local partners collected and shared available intelligence in preparation for the various planned events.”
“The FBI was prepared to adapt as needed to fluid events on the ground, including having rapid response teams in reserve,” the official said.
…The official wasn’t in a position to explain why D’Antuono, the head of the Washington field office, said there had been no indications of violence.
…New York police, who have the most robust intelligence collection and analytical arm of any local police agency in the country, sent law enforcement agencies across the country — including Capitol Police — an intelligence packet describing threats and violent rhetoric on social media in the weeks and days leading up to the rally, multiple senior law enforcement officials said.
The officials said Capitol Police were given a specific and separate intelligence report describing extremist rhetoric and threats of violence that appeared on social media in connection with the rally.
…A private intelligence report issued in December, obtained by NBC News, said the “‘million-MAGA march’ in Washington DC on 6 January is the next major flashpoint … the mass event (which will be held in the National Mall and outside the Capitol) is likely to spark street violence.
…The FBI is also under scrutiny. Its top investigative priority is terrorism, foreign and domestic. Had this been an al Qaeda plot to storm the Capitol, some experts said, it is likely that the FBI would have arrested the participants before they left their home airports on the way to Washington.
…Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for northern Alabama, said the FBI has tools to monitor potential violence by domestic extremists. She suggested that the issue was one of emphasis and will.