FBI Director Christopher Wray and the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Kenneth Cucinelli, warned police chiefs of major US cities to be on high alert and “overshare intelligence”, as concerns rise about the likelihood of “extremist violence” ahead of the January 20 Biden inauguration, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
According to unnamed participants of an extensive call with officials, Wray and Cucinelli did not elaborate on specifics, but said they would issue a national threat bulletin urging all US citizens to be cautious in coming days.
The two were particularly concerned about potential attacks on business, state capitols, federal buildings and the homes of congressional members, the report noted.
“They’re very, very worried about these, what they referred to as domestic violent extremists, embedding themselves in other protests,” a police chief told The NYT. “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 behavior.”
The reported warnings come as Washington DC is beefing up security measures amid fears of additional violence. Particularly, large detachments of National Guard troops were sent to the Capitol during the US House vote to impeach Trump a second time.
Earlier in the week, Trump approved an emergency declaration for the US capital city, which will remain in effect until 24 January.
Concerns regarding potential violence ahead of the Biden inauguration emerged after reports on FBI warnings of armed protests planned in all 50 US state capitals in the days before January 20.
Last week, Trump supporters besieged the US Capitol, killing five people, including a law enforcement officer who was beaten to death, and causing widespread damage and vandalism while failing to disrupt the certification of the election results.