Both the FBI and the Secret Service have issued separate warnings that a loosely organized extremist group known as the “boogaloo movement” presents a significant potential threat ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The FBI wrote in a bulletin that anti-government militias and racist extremists like the boogaloo movement “very likely post the greatest domestic terrorism threat in 2021,” according to the New York Times.
The report, labeled “Domestic violent extremists emboldened in aftermath of capitol breach, elevated domestic terrorism threat of violence likely amid political transitions and beyond,” warned that extremist groups have rallied around the death of Ashli Babbitt, herself a “deep” QAnon supporter, according to the Guardian, viewing her death as “an act of martyrdom.”
“The boogaloo movement is a right-wing extremist movement, with most of its adherents coming from various fringe right-wing movements or philosophies,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Followers of the boogaloo movement “seek a politically motivated civil war,” and the FBI warned that they “may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States.”
“The shared false narrative of a ‘stolen’ election may lead some individuals to adopt the belief that there is no political solution to address their grievances and violent action is necessary,” the report continues.
The Secret Service issued a similar warning on Monday, according to the Daily Beast.
“Although no civil disobedience has been confirmed, organizers have encouraged attendees to bring weapons to the event,” the report reads. The report detailed several organization efforts, including one by the pro-boogaloo Tree of Liberty, which requested “armed citizens” to come out and as a show of force across the country.
The Secret Service cited messages on the since-deplatformed Parler encouraging supporters to “literally PHYSICALLY STOP THE STEAL.”
As a result of the threats, Washington, D.C., is ramping up Inauguration Day defenses, with reports of as many as 20,000 National Guard members authorized in the district for Biden’s swearing-in — more than double the typical number of troops present for an inauguration.
Biden, who has remained adamant about being sworn in on the Capitol steps, has been briefed by both the FBI and the Secret Service. The incoming administration said it is “engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks.”
As a result, Biden will no longer take an Amtrak train from his namesake station in Delaware to Washington’s Union Station, as he used to do as a senator and single father raising his children.
Lawmakers have also been briefed on at least four “chilling” plots to storm the Capitol a second time ahead of Biden’s inauguration. One of those threats was a plan to avenge Babbitt’s death, and other plans included attacks on the Supreme Court and other federal buildings.
“The threats we are facing are very specific — I don’t want anyone watching at home to think that we’re just sort of imagining the things could be bad,” Rep. Conor Lamb said after the briefing phone call. “They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan. They are committed to doing what they’re doing because I think, in their minds, you know, they are patriots, and they’re talking about 1776, and so this is now a contest of wills.”
The threats described on the call with lawmakers come on top of reports that an internal FBI bulletin warned of armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said. The advisory also noted potential threats of an “uprising” if the Cabinet were to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from power before Jan. 20.