FBI asks police across US to ‘overshare’  tips on extremists

FBI asks police across US to ‘overshare’ tips on extremists

January 13, 2021

Federal officials warned police chiefs in major cities during a call on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) to be on high alert and generous with intelligence as police departments around the country ramped up preparations for the week leading into the inauguration.

In a roughly 45-minute call, Christopher Wray, the FBI director, and Kenneth Cuccinelli, the acting director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, expressed great concern about the potential for extremist violence, according to participants. Failing to identify any specific threats, the officials called on law enforcement officers across the country to watch for signs of trouble.

Wray said that "we need to continue to overshare intelligence," Chief Jorge Colina of the Miami Police Department said in an interview. "So they don't want for us to assume anything that they already know — anything that we come across to please forward it."

The officials said they would be issuing a national threat bulletin urging all Americans to be cautious in the coming days, according to a police chief who listened to the call but requested anonymity because they were asked not to share details of the call.

With the Capitol fortified by an intensive security operation, the officials seemed concerned about potential attacks on state capitols, federal buildings, the homes of congressional members and businesses, the chief said.

Federal officials said they were closely monitoring extremist chatter online and urged the chiefs to be mindful of potential lone-wolf actors and local armed groups, the chief said.

"They're very, very worried about these, what they referred to as domestic violent extremists, embedding themselves in other protests," the chief said. "Christopher Wray seemed particularly concerned about what was sort of the disregard these folks have for democratic government. The focus was not to go after people engaged in peaceful protest. There were others embedded in that who were engaged in violence and criminal behaviour."

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