Twice in the last six weeks, warnings were issued about imminent, grave threats to public safety posed by the same type of right-wing extremists who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. And both times, these warnings ushered in severe security measures only to prove utterly baseless.
First we had the hysteria over the violence we were told was likely to occur at numerous state capitols on Inauguration Day. “Law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony,” announced CNN. In an even scarier formulation, NPR intoned that “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.”
The resulting clampdowns were as extreme as the dire warnings. Washington, D.C. was militarized more than at any point since the 9/11 attack. The military was highly visible on the streets. And, described The Washington Post, “state capitols nationwide locked down, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities braced for potential violence Sunday mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.” All of this, said the paper, “reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations.”
But none of that happened — not even close. The Washington Post acknowledged three weeks later:
Despite warnings of violent plots around Inauguration Day, only a smattering of right-wing protesters appeared at the nation’s statehouses. In Tallahassee, just five armed men wearing the garb of the boogaloo movement — a loose collection of anti-government groups that say the country is heading for civil war — showed up. Police and National Guard personnel mostly ignored them.
It was a made up line, for domestic political purposes. If there were a real insurrection, they’d deny it.
Plus: “(Two FBI operatives have since anonymously leaked that it is looking at a ‘suspect’ who may have engaged with Sicknick in a way that ultimately contributed to his death. But nothing still is known; Sicknick’s mother claims he died of a stroke while his brother says it was from pepper spray; and all of this is worlds away from the endlessly repeated media claim that a bloodthirsty pro-Trump mob savagely bashed his head in with a fire extinguisher.)”
And predictably — just as happened during the Cold War, Oklahoma City, & 9/11 attack — FBI is now using the threat of "insurrectionists" and "domestic terrorism" to justify greater surveillance powers. That's why exaggerating the threat is so dangerous.t.co/I7Zcvik6Nm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 5, 2021
So I figure the “intelligence” about new “uprisings” on January 20, March 4, March 20, etc. is just people spreading rumors to make the authorities look stupid. If so, it’s working!