Vague memories here of when U.S. intelligence would detect “chatter” in jihadi networks after 9/11 and move the color-coded terror alert system to orange — and then nothing would happen.
Eventually they got rid of that system after people got tired of so many false alarms.
In defense of the Capitol Police, they really did have reason to think today might be special. It’s special for some QAnoners, after all, and there was reportedly talk in certain militia circles about doing something to commemorate the date on which Trump was “supposed” to be sworn in for his second term. The evidence of a plot was concerning enough to Pelosi to cancel business today in the House. According to NBC, a bulletin sent by the FBI and DHS on Tuesday warned that some groups had “discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about” March 4, which of course is today.
In the end, nothing happened.
WaPo has a long story about the scene at the Capitol this afternoon, recounting in vivid detail just how little was going on. National Guardsmen posed for photos. Kids rode their skateboards. One guy came into the city hoping to join a counterprotest aimed at QAnoners, only to find there were no QAnoners around — and no counterprotesters. People who follow QAnon forums and domestic and foreign terrorist chatter online told the paper separately that they were baffled at the hype about an attack today, having detected nothing comparable to the sort of agitation they saw before January 6. Capitol Police underreacted to that threat and seemed intent on atoning by overreacting today:
“I understand why Congress would want to be cautious, but whatever threat was presented by this conspiracy theory for March 4 wasn’t anywhere near the level for January 6,” said Rita Katz, executive director of SITE Intelligence Group, which had issued numerous reports before Jan. 6 detailing how a violent attack was being planned online, in plain sight. “Some from QAnon, militia groups and far-right circles have even advised against going to D.C.”…
“Without Trump, there’s no leader here,” said Eric Feinberg, vice president for content moderation for the Coalition for a Safer Web, which monitors extremist content. “This thing, it’s a joke.”…
“They’re overreacting,” said Joel Finkelstein, co-founder of the Network Contagion Research Institute, a research group that studies online extremism and, like others in the field, had issued urgent warnings ahead of Jan. 6.
He said extremists may have embraced their power to disrupt ordinary events in Washington — and prompt intensifying security — by merely voicing threats in forums that law enforcement monitors.
I guess that’s progress, right? Instead of forcing Congress to cancel business by sacking the Capitol and starting a melee with hundreds of cops, they can just tweet some stuff about “the storm” descending on a particular day and accomplish the same thing without anyone dying.
The ironic punchline to today’s fizzle is that the Capitol Police just asked the Pentagon to extend the National Guard’s presence around the Capitol for another two months. Why? That’s unclear. But if you have no confidence in your own ability to meet the threat, as the USCP seems not to, it’s nice to be able to lean on the military to help you do your job.
“It’s outrageous,” [Jim Inhofe] said. ”That’s not what they’re supposed to be, that’s not their mission. We have the Capitol Police, that is their mission.”…
[Dem Rep. Elissa] Slotkin said some members of Congress have been concerned about whether there is a solid plan to provide security for members and staff going forward.
“We want to understand what the plan is,” she said. “None of us like looking at the fencing, the gates, the uniformed presence around the Capitol. We can’t depend on the National Guard for our security.”…
U.S. Capitol Police officials have also told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months.
The Guard’s presence may be the counterterror equivalent of mask mandates. Probably not necessary, but reassuring until the threat hopefully abates a few months from now.
Daily Caller reporter Richie McGinniss went down to the Capitol today to see what was brewing and found, well, you’ll see. In lieu of an exit question, read this scoop from CNN, the only interesting news related to an insurrection to be reported today. There’s no evidence of any coordination right now between members of Congress and the rioters on January 6 but it’s interesting that the feds are curious about the possibility.
I asked these National Guards troops, “more media than anyone else eh?”
One replied, “true.” Another said, “yes.”
Then we agreed that it’s a beautiful day. pic.twitter.com/YzqDX3RgUr
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) March 4, 2021