Embarrassed by Jan. 6 riot, Feds promise to watch us closer

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
 | 
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Capitol breach fighting copsIt is no secret the federal government claims the country is overrun with dangerous right-wing terrorists, especially after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, but a national security analyst warns searching for them behind every keyboard is a dangerous step toward a police state.

Citing two Biden administration officials, NBC News reported last week the Dept. of Homeland Security is working closely with private firms to monitor, analyze, and flag social media posts with the goal of rooting out potential terrorists.

DHS is taking action, the news story explained, because the federal government failed to learn about and respond to plans for violence that were being discussed on social media as the Jan. 6 "Save America" rally neared.

In particular, said one of the unnamed officials, the plan is to identify people online who are “prone” to being influenced by “toxic messaging” from foreign governments, terrorists, and domestic extremists through social media.

Capitol breach pic pointing gunsNBC News, still quoting the official, reports the “trigger for scrutiny” is plans to commit violence, not “political ideology.”

The riot on Capitol Hill has been described as an “insurrection” by Democrats and the media, since it interrupted the Senate’s electoral voting, but Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy tells One News Now it appears the ones attempting to overthrow the government are Democrats and the Biden administration who are in charge.  

“We're witnessing the Biden-Harris administration, in league with its allies on Capitol Hill,” he warns, “seeking a fundamental transformation of our country into something that is wholly at odds with our Constitution.”

Feds failing to prove 'conspiracy'

According to the latest media reports, more than 300 people are facing federal charges, including some that carry prison sentences, for allegedly planning or participating in the Jan. 6 riot that left five dead and numerous police officer injured. 

Federal prosecutors have focused on leaders and members of two groups, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, right-wing groups that were likely already targets of FBI surveillance but openly used social media to coordinate plans for attending the rally that concluded with Donald Trump. 

Capitol breach 3 (Jan 2021)According to The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, Facebook chatter suggested the two groups were working together because they expected to confront Antifa activists, not to attack the U.S. Capitol.

What is missing in federal court documents, Daily Mail acknowledged, is that prosecutors are not alleging an “overarching conspiracy” before the mob descended on Capitol Hill, and prosecutors are not suggesting there is evidence of planning such an attack.  

In the same Daily Mail story, the newspaper reports that Oath Keepers member Thomas Caldwell, who was charged with conspiracy, was released on bail in mid-March after being arrested in January. A federal judge concluded he did not enter the Capitol building and there is no evidence Caldwell was involved in any plans to enter the building.

Caldwell, 65, is described in the story as a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who once worked for the FBI.

A story by USA Today about Caldwell quotes a federal prosecutor who admitted there was no discussion of "forced entry" of the Capitol, and a defense attorney for Caldwell told the court that his client was planning a "quick-reaction force" that would react to left-wing violence on Jan. 6.

According to an NPR story about Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean, prosecutors allege he planned an attack on the Capitol using social media by recruiting members, raising funds, and gathering military-style equipment.

Attorneys for Nordean, who faces a 20-year sentence on one charge, said prosecutors are making "sweeping, vague allegations" but have offered "no factual evidence" to support the allegations. 

Their client, they claim in court documents, made "inane social media posts about patriots, the election, and fundraising." 

Gaffney

According to the NBC News story, the unnamed Biden administration official said the Dept. of Homeland Security is halfway through a 60-day review of "domestic violent extremism" in the country. 

"It is premature to say how things will change," the official said, referring to when the review is completed, "but it is not premature to say it will change."  

Gaffney, who is familiar with the federal powers bestowed by the post-9/11 Patriot Act, says Homeland Security was already trampling on civil liberties by monitoring Americans suspected of being connected to foreign governments.

“This seems, now, to have kicked in to a significantly higher gear as a result of the Biden administration coming to power,” he says.

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