FBI report: DC Metropolitan and US Capitol Police monitored fascist militias’ radio communications during the January 6 attack

On Monday, the New York Times published an article on a recently uncovered FBI intelligence report showing that fascist groups involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol were being monitored in real time by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the DC Metropolitan and US Capitol Police.

The FBI document reveals that prior to the attack, the FBI gave the US Capitol Police and the DC Metropolitan Police hand-held radios encoded with the specific radio channel frequency used by far-right militia groups prior to and during the attack.

The intelligence report was released as part of a Freedom of Information Request submitted by the nonprofit transparency organization “Property of the People.” The group, cofounded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and activist Ryan Shapiro, has previously passed on to newspapers internal police and FBI documents revealing a wide range of government corruption, illegality, spying and abuse.

The January 19, 2021 FBI situation report obtained by Property of the People, titled “National Crisis Coordination Center Update: Preventing Violence and Criminal Activity January 2021,” deals mainly with the numerous fascist threats law enforcement agencies were monitoring leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden.

The document notes that as of January 19, “17 FBI field offices” were investigating a total of “40 Threat to Life Guardians, including threats toward prominent politicians and law enforcement and their families.” The document states that “multiple reports” had been received indicating “various threats” to harm “President-elect Biden ahead of the Presidential Inauguration.” It continues: “Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect [Kamala] Harris and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi.”

Toward the end of the document, however, the FBI states: “According to law enforcement partners, some members of identified groups that attended the 6 January events had planned to use specific radio frequencies for their communication. This information was shared with DC’s Office of Unified Communications to program some handheld radios, which were given to US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department, for monitoring.”

This revelation is highly significant on a number of accounts. First, it underscores the fact that the attack on the Capitol was not a spur-of-the-moment event involving overzealous Trump supporters, but rather a sophisticated, preplanned operation spearheaded by militia groups such as the Proud Boys playing a leading role. Several months earlier, in a televised debate with Biden, Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power and called on the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” should he be declared the loser of the November election.

In a March indictment against four Proud Boy leaders—Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe—the government alleged that an unindicted coconspirator provided the group with crowd-funded baofeng (Chinese encrypted) radios on January 5. On publicly available social media, members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are seen using radios and earpieces to communicate prior to and during the siege of the Capitol.

The release of the document raises several questions about the role of the FBI and the DC and Capitol police in Trump’s attempted coup. It adds significantly to the already ample evidence that all the agencies tasked with protecting Congress and ensuring the certification of the Electoral College vote were well aware that an attack was possible, even imminent. Nevertheless, they failed to make any serious preparations or respond in a timely fashion once the assault was underway.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported following the attack, publicly available video shows officers with the US Capitol Police opening gates for insurrectionists, taking selfies with Trump supporters and apparently encouraging them to storm the Capitol.

Zello radio messages of Oath Keepers’ communications recorded by WNYC radio reporter Micah Loewinger on January 6 confirm that the absence of police resistance was noted by indicted militia member and former US Army soldier Jessica Watkins. “Police are doing nothing, they’re not even trying to stop us at this point,” remarked Watkins on January 6.

These still unanswered questions, over six months since the siege, underscore the degree to which the Democratic Party and the corporate media have worked to cover up the scale of the coup conspiracy and the complicity of highly placed officials in the FBI, the military and the police.

The Times writes that the FBI document “is more evidence that law enforcement agencies were well aware of the involvement of organized extremists in the ‘stop the steal’ protests,” but the newspaper fails to raise the possibility that the attack was deliberately and actively aided by the police.

Instead, the Times implies that the lack of any serious mobilization of police and security forces was an unfortunate lapse or, in the words of the official 9/11 Commission coverup, a failure to “connect the dots.” The newspaper hastens to reassure its readers that the Capitol Police department is “making major changes,” including “better training with the National Guard.”

The Times makes no mention of one of the most damning revelations concerning the role of the US Capitol Police. As revealed over a month ago by US Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton in sworn testimony before Congress and in an official report by his office, the Capitol Police paid the private paramilitary contractor Northern Red Inc. tens of thousands of dollars to train its rapid response unit, the Containment Emergency Response Team, or CERT, in 2018 and 2019.

Northern Red trainers are former US Army Special Forces soldiers. Its CEO is an admirer of Adolf Hitler with close ties to other fascistic veterans of death squad missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The CERT unit trained by Northern Red refused to evacuate lawmakers or use “less lethal” rounds during the storming of the Capitol on January 6.

This author reached out to the Times to ask why it has not even reported this crucial fact. As of this writing, the Times has not responded.