The FBI on Wednesday urged police chiefs across the country to be on high alert for extremist activity and to share intelligence on any threats they encounter, as the U.S. government issued a dire intelligence bulletin warning of potential violence ahead of the inauguration.
In the call with police chiefs, Christopher Wray, the FBI director, and Kenneth Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, warned about potential attacks on state capitols, federal buildings, the homes of congressional members and businesses, according to one of the chiefs on the call. The officials failed to identify any specific threats, participants said, but called on law enforcement officers across the country to watch for signs of trouble, no matter how small.
“They don’t want to be dismissive of anything,” Chief Jorge Colina of the Miami Police Department, one of thousands of officials participating in the call, told the New York Times in an interview. “So even if it sounds aspirational, even if it’s just like, ‘Yeah, it’d be great if the whole place is burned down,’ they don’t want us to think, ‘Ah, that’s just some knucklehead, pinhead,’ and be dismissive.”
The federal authorities also issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning that the deadly breach at the Capitol last week would be a “significant driver of violence” for armed militia groups and racist extremists who are targeting the presidential inauguration next week.