Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch list came to D.C. the day of Capitol riot - The Washington Post
Jan 14, 2021 2 mins, 52 secs
Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events Jan.

The majority of the watch-listed individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists whose past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, these people said.

The watch list is larger and separate from the “no-fly” list the government maintains to prevent terrorism suspects from boarding airplanes, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces, current and former officials said.

The presence of so many watch-listed individuals in one place — without more robust security measures to protect the public — is another example of the intelligence failures preceding last week’s fatal assault that sent lawmakers running for their lives, some current and former law enforcement officials argued.

Other current and former officials said the presence of those individuals is an unsurprising consequence of having thousands of fervent Trump supporters gathered for what was billed as a final chance to voice opposition to Joe Biden’s certification as the next president.

official said, adding that because of security concerns, the government has a policy of neither confirming nor denying a person’s watch list status.

Inside the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, officials are grappling with thorny questions about race, terrorism and free-speech rights, as some investigators question whether more could have been done to prevent last week’s violence.

Several law enforcement officials said they are shocked by the backgrounds of some individuals under investigation in connection with the Capitol riot, a pool of suspects that includes current and former law enforcement and military personnel as well as senior business executives and middle-aged business owners.

The watch list can be used as both an investigative and early warning tool, but its primary purpose is to help various government agencies keep abreast of what individuals seen as potential risks are doing and where they travel, according to people familiar with the work who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the work is sensitive.

Often that can be done as a “silent hit,” meaning if someone on the watch list is stopped for speeding, that information is typically entered into the database without the individual or even the officer who wrote the ticket ever knowing, one person said.

Many complied, but according to people familiar with the sprawling investigation, dozens of others, whose names appear in the terrorist watch list, apparently attended, based on information reviewed by the FBI.

5 FBI report, written by the bureau’s office in Norfolk, and reviewed by The Post, shows that was not the case, and the Justice Department took other steps indicating officials were at least somewhat concerned about possible violence the next day.

to supplement security at the Justice Department building, an unusual move similar to what the department did in June to respond to civil unrest stemming from racial justice protests.

in the spring and summer, Justice Department officials deferred to the Capitol Police to defend their building and lawmakers there

Some former officials have questioned whether the FBI and Justice Department should have done more

“It would not have been enough for the bureau simply to share information, if it did so, with state and local law enforcement or federal partner agencies,” said David Laufman, a former Justice Department national security official


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