FBI warns of possible armed protests across US ahead of Inauguration Day
BATON ROUGE - As the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly prepares for a possible series of "armed protests" that may have been planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington DC ahead of Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, local authorities in Louisiana are collaborating to provide the necessary security at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
The issue of possible unrest, reported by news outlets across the country as information obtained from an internal bulletin circulated within the FBI, stems from protesters who appear to be at odds with the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election and the possible removal of President Trump from office prior to Inauguration Day.
The FBI's internal bulletin reportedly stated, "Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January."
The notice went on to say: "On 8 January, the FBI received information on an identified group 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. This identified group is also planning to 'storm' government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January."
The FBI is also tracking reports of "various threats to harm President-Elect Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration," the bulletin states. "Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect Harris and Speaker Pelosi."
The FBI said in a separate statement that its "efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity," and that its "focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property."
Meanwhile, on a local level, Louisiana State Police (LSP) issued a statement regarding the security of Louisiana's State Capitol, Monday, saying: “Louisiana State Police and the Department of Public Safety Police work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to coordinate security protocols for the Louisiana State Capitol."
"In coordination with Capitol staff, LSP continually monitors potential security concerns to ensure safety for protesters, Capitol grounds, and the surrounding community."
LSP added, "We will not be able to provide specific information regarding security measures.”
As local authorities partner to ensure the safety of Baton Rouge's citizens, federal officials are scrambling to implement national security measures. Their efforts were tested Monday, when a key figure within the Department of Homeland Security stepped down from their post.
Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, resigned from his post Monday, CNN reports.
However, in one of his last acts, Wolf said Monday that he had instructed the US Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for Biden's Inauguration on Wednesday, instead of January 19, the day before Biden is set to be inaugurated.
"In light of events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray, I have instructed the U.S. Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration effective Wednesday, January 13th instead of January 19th," Wolf said in a statement.
"Our federal, state, and local partners will continue to coordinate their plans and position resources for this important event," he added.
In harmony with this, a Department of Homeland Security official told CNN that last week's occupation of the Capitol will sharpen the response and planning for inauguration.
"Now that it happened people will take it much more seriously," the official explained. "Now, the planners, they are all going to take it much more seriously."
Additional security personnel are expected to arrive in Washington to assist with the Jan. 20 inauguration. Law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey that deployed to the US Capitol Wednesday to assist in subduing violent rioters once again expect to send officers to Washington, DC, for the inauguration.
As an added measure, the New York Police Department will also send 200 officers to Washington to assist with the effort, according to Detective Christopher Pisano, a spokesperson.
The National Guard has plans to have up to 15,000 National Guard troops to meet current and future requests for the inauguration, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday. The significant increase in troops comes as law enforcement in the nation's capital and around the country brace for further extremist violence amid the transition of power.
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