In the days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol, documents exchanged between the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies outlined “threats of violence” on the 6th, coming “predominantly from right wing groups” with “plans to bring weapons into the District,” according to documents obtained by CREW. The Secret Service knew that Trump’s supporters would be demonstrating around Freedom Plaza and the Capitol with the intent to cause violence, but the agency does not appear to have taken the threat seriously.
While the Secret Service downplayed threats posed by right-wing extremist groups and Trump’s supporters leading up to January 6, the newly obtained documents reveal just how grave and explicit the threats had actually been.
The National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC) disseminated these threats in messages and a conference call on the morning of January 4, providing a clear and prescient warning of the violence to come. NTIC alerted the Secret Service, FBI, Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department among other law enforcement groups of “on-line communications citing violence in DC on 1-6-21,” which included objectives such as “Occupying the Capitol to influence lawmakers to change election results,” “Call to come with guns,” “Be prepared to battle” and “Exercise 2nd Amendment rights.”
Groups identified as coming with a potential to cause violence included the Oath Keepers, the 3%ers and neo-Nazi groups Atomwaffen and Storm Front. In spite of this warning, the Secret Service noted “There is no indication of civil disobedience” stemming from the right-wing extremist groups involved in the riot. Upon learning of the Proud Boys’ intent to arrive in DC on January 6, the Secret Service released an internal memo that disclosed no indication of concern—despite the Proud Boys stating they will turn out in “record numbers.”
NTIC’s warning was not the only one the Secret Service failed to heed. The U.S. Marshals Service’s Office of Protective Intelligence flagged a Parler post for a reference of violence against the vice president, and followed it up with a report titled “Concerning issues” that included further screenshots of recent Parler posts calling for the violent removal of politicians, implying plans to have firearms at the Capitol and threatening Mike Pence.
“It’s gonna get violent as we charge the federal buildings and drag out corrupt politicians dead or alive!” one posted before the 6th read, continuing on to reveal the author’s desire to kill politicians. “Now you got weapons I came packing,” read one posted the morning of the riot, “I’m here for justice bang bang.” The posts made clear who their top target was: “Fuck pence sellout traitor we better see him coming out that building in handcuffs or were [sic] going in.”
These documents show government law enforcement receiving clear warnings of the violence bound for DC on January 6. The Secret Service was fully aware that the Trump supporters coming posed a real threat of violence, particularly against Mike Pence, including the possibility of an assault on the Capitol. What they do not show is why the Secret Service downplayed the danger and threats of violence on January 6.