FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed on Thursday that the agency was monitoring a multitude of online posts hinting at the possibility of an armed protest being held on Inauguration Day.
During a briefing with US Vice President Mike Pence at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, DC, Wray informed officials the bureau was “seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter” about potentially violent events.
"Right now, we’re tracking calls for potential armed protests and activity leading up to the inauguration," Wray said. He later explained that “the reason I use the word potential is because one of the real challenges in this space is trying to distinguish what’s aspirational versus what’s intentional.” “We’re concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protests and rallies planned here in DC and at state capitol buildings around the country in the days to come that could bring armed individuals within close proximity to government buildings and officials,” he stressed.
The FBI director further indicated that the bureau was “looking at individuals who may have an eye towards repeating that same kind of violence that we saw last week,” and has called on local law enforcement to strengthen their security measures at government buildings.
In a bid to better monitor threats and distribute necessary intelligence, federal authorities will be actively working nonstop at the FBI headquarters and its 56 field offices across the nation. “Our posture is aggressive, and it’s going to stay that way through the inauguration,” Wray added.
Since the violent storming of the US Capitol last week by Trump supporters, the nation’s capital has remained on high alert. As an added measure of security, officials have implemented additional security barriers at several government buildings and deployed thousands of National Guard troops to the city.
Earlier this week, Wray called on local authorities to “overshare intelligence” as officials have grown concerned about the possibility of “extremist violence” unfolding. In fact, the FBI previously issued a bulletin that stated armed protests were being planned at all 50 state capitols, as well as the since-shuttered US Capitol. Additionally, congressional lawmakers were reportedly briefed on three planned attacks against the Capitol, White House and the Supreme Court.
Although Trump has brushed off any responsibility for last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol, the president has doubled down and called for “no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind” amid reports of possible armed unrest.
Prior to Trump’s suspension from Twitter, he indicated he would not be attending the inauguration ceremony. Reports suggest Trump may be leaving the capital on Tuesday to relocate to Florida for his post-presidency days, a move unlikely to be warmly accepted by some residents of the Sunshine State.