The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security predict that violent attacks by domestic extremists will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.
Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to seize control of the Capitol and “remove Democratic lawmakers” on or around March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday’s vote when word of the possible threats spread.
- The extremist group is not identified in the report, but Capitol police told congressional staff that the FBI has intelligence that it is the Three Percent militia group, according to a person present during the briefing.
- The FBI and Capitol Police are not aware of any increases in hotel reservations in DC or flight reservations to the area, but the Capitol Police are conducting intelligence briefings for officers and are going on a schedule. “hands-free” (no days off) until March 6. the source said.
The panorama: The report lists the government and law enforcement agencies as possible targets of extremist groups who may exploit public gatherings to participate in acts of violence.
- He says that groups are motivated by electoral fraud and other conspiracy theories surrounding the presidential transition.
- The report cited a QAnon conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will take office on March 4, the date of possible attack plans. – or return to power on May 20 with the help of the US military.
- It says extremist groups have also allegedly threatened to use explosives “to kill as many members as possible” during the next State of the Union.
- The extremists were likely emboldened by the Jan.6 rape of the Capitol building, according to the report.
Between lines: Law enforcement agencies are also warning of extremists turning to encrypted communications after massive purges of social media platforms after January 6.
- Law enforcement awareness of the threats is “increasingly limited” by the use of secure communications by extremists, according to the report.
The bottom line: Capitol Police issued a statement Wednesday morning acknowledging the growing threat to members and the grounds of the Capitol.
- “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to violate the Capitol by a group of militias identified on Thursday, March 4,” the statement read.
- “We have already made significant security enhancements to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public, and our police officers.”
This story has been updated with new details about the Capitol threat and a link to the full report.