'The intelligence was there': Law enforcement warnings abounded in the runup to Jan. 6

The analyst also noted that people called for violence in the comment section of a YouTube video regarding a local hotel’s closure that day.

“One comment stating, ‘At what point do armed Americans seize DC and start hanging politicians? It’s an honest question that is not without merit or precedence’ received more than 1,100 ‘up-votes,’” the bulletin added.

Though the bulletin was written by people in the private sector, materials POLITICO reviewed show it circulated among law enforcement officials.

The same day, an email sent between officials in the FBI’s Seattle Field Office noted that they might face requests for information on Jan. 6.

“WSFC IAs [Washington State Fusion Center intelligence analysts] have also noted comments by some Washington State residents planning to travel armed to Washington D.C. for tomorrow’s protests there,” the FBI official wrote. “So, a head’s up that there may be incoming requests for checks should any of them end up in reporting.”

In other words, it was no mystery to the FBI’s Seattle Field Office that people were traveling long distances with weapons to Washington D.C. for Jan. 6 — action that would have all but certainly broken D.C.’s gun laws. An FBI spokesperson told POLITICO that the email did not detail a specific threat or actionable intelligence, and did not comment more broadly beyond that response.

Meanwhile, SITE sent out a flurry of bulletins on Jan. 5 about far-right extremists. One of those bulletins reported that a Proud Boys Telegram channel threatened government officials over the arrest of the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio.

“‘This is war,’ the channel declared, stating that the ‘time for choosing sides is over… it’s time to remove them,’ with the targeted ‘them’ most likely referring to both left-wing activists and government officials,” the bulletin read.

It added that a Proud Boys Telegram channel echoed a neo-Nazi phrase when describing the group’s plans for Jan. 6.

“When our guys show up to March in DC, many of them indeed support president Trump, but many of them march for this nation, not Trump,” read Telegram post as reported in the bulletin. “Many of them march to stand up against marxists and inspire the right wing to be unafraid. Here’s the point: There is no political solution.”

SITE noted that that Telegram message echoed “the violent language of neo-Nazi and accelerationist communities who have long propagated the well-known ‘There Is No Political Solution’ phrase in their pursuit of societal collapse.”

Together, these documents show that law enforcement officials had access to timely, detailed information about the threats lawmakers would face on Jan. 6.

Iman Boukadoum, the director for Human Rights and Extremism at Human Rights First, said there’s no excuse for the failure to protect the Capitol.

“There was no shortage of evidence for them,” she said. “When I hear law enforcement saying, ‘We didn’t have enough to go off of to open an investigation,’ sometimes you hear that talking point, that just rings hollow. You had the evidence in front of you.”

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