NORFOLK, Va. — FBI officials said they’re working to stop potential violent protests in the next week, following last week’s riot and insurrection at the Capitol.
The FBI Norfolk field office said its agents are “identifying, investigating and disrupting” people who could incite more violence leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
Five people died and dozens were hurt in last week’s storming of the Capitol. Each day, more members of the pro-Trump mob are arrested.
The Virginia National Guard is set to protect the Capitol through Inauguration Day.
Meanwhile, FBI field offices and investigators are now turning their attention to future threats.
“It’s really unprecedented, and while there may be a lot of boilerplate investigative steps and techniques being used, I think there is a greater, heightened sense of awareness and concern," said former FBI Special Agent Supervisor, Steve Foster.
Foster said investigators are finding leaders and groups who could be threats, and then sending that information to a task force in D.C.
“The FBI is looking for threat intelligence long before Inauguration Day for people who are potentially getting ready, maybe hoarding weapons, potentially planning to incite some kind of violence on the day of the Inauguration," he said. "If they can determine that ahead of time they’ll arrest them before they even get to Washington.”
An FBI Norfolk spokesperson said the agency was focusing on people who “threaten their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
The U.S. Capitol and Virginia Capitol are currently fenced off for security. Foster said each day is critical to prepare for and prevent future violence.
“We’re always learning and if we don’t learn then shame on us," he said. "I think the Capitol Police learned a little bit on the day of the rally and the election in Congress, I think we’re learning every day from this threat intelligence.”
In response to questions from 13News Now on the FBI's collection of intelligence about planned armed protests or additional threatening activity, an FBI spokesperson released this statement:
"Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity... Our focus is not on peaceful protesters, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property." - FBI Norfolk