Defense & Homeland Security

Dozens on FBI’s terrorist watchlist were in DC day of Capitol riot

UPI Photo

Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington, D.C., the day a mob attacked the Capitol, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The people were on the Terrorist Screening Database, a massive list kept by the government of people who have been flagged as potential security threats. The Post reported that a majority of those in D.C. are suspected white supremacists. 

The Post cited individuals familiar with the FBI’s investigation.

Most of the people flagged were in Washington, D.C., for pro-Trump events that had been scheduled. 

The events culminated with an angry mob overwhelming Capitol Police and storming the building, putting lawmakers, staff and journalists in danger. One Capitol Police officer was killed in the melee, and many others were injured. 

The House impeached President Trump on Wednesday, with a majority including 10 Republicans determining he had incited the mob.

The fact that dozens of people on a terrorist list were in D.C. that day but that there was not more security around the Capitol adds to the failure of intelligence and police to adequately secure the complex. Lawmakers at the time were certifying the Electoral College votes.

President Trump for weeks has been making unsubstantiated allegations that the election was rigged against him, and many of those attacking the Capitol wanted to stop the Electoral College count.

The Post notes that hundreds of thousands of people have been added to the database since its inception, and a person’s presence on that list does not necessarily mean they will receive a heightened level of scrutiny. Instead, their presence on the list will alert government officials to look more closely at an individual if they are encountered.

“The U.S. Government is committed to protecting the United States from terrorist threats and attacks and seeks to do this in a manner that protects the freedoms, privacy and civil rights and liberties of U.S. persons and other individuals with rights under U.S. law,” a U.S. official told the Post.

According to the official, the U.S. government has a policy to neither confirm or deny a person’s terrorist watch list status due to security concerns.

It is unknown whether any of the people in the database are among the dozens who have been arrested so far for their involvement in storming the Capitol. The list is operated by the FBI. The bureau is currently seeking tips and information to help track down those involved in the Capitol breach.

Several lawmakers and critics have referred to those who stormed the Capitol as “domestic terrorists.” 

When opening impeachment proceedings on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “Those insurrectionists were not patriots. They were not part of a political base to be catered to and managed. They were domestic terrorists. And justice must prevail.”

Tags Capitol breach Definition of terrorism Donald Trump Federal Bureau of Investigation Nancy Pelosi No Fly List Terrorism TSDB United States Capitol

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