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Joint Threat Assessment for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

A new Joint Threat Assessment of the 2021 Presidential Inauguration notes that the most likely threat to the inauguration will be from domestic violent extremists. It also highlights the role of foreign influence, particularly from Russia, in seeding unrest in the United States.

The assessment was prepared by the FBI, DHS, USSS, US Capitol Police(USCP), National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC ), Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region ( JFHQ-NCR ), Virginia Fusion Center (VFC) and the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center (NVRIC ), Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC), and US Park Police (USPP).

A full copy of the assessment is included below, but key findings from the assessment include:

Domestic violent extremists (DVEs) pose the most likely threat to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2021 due to recent incidents of ideologically motivated violence , including at the US Capitol Building. In light of the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January, planned events in Washington, DC, in the lead up to and day ofInauguration Day offer continued opportunities for violence targeting public officials, government buildings, and federal and local law enforcement.

Unaffiliated lone offenders and homegrown violent extremists (HVEs remain a concern due to their ability to act with little to no warning, willingness to attack civilians and soft targets, and ability to inflict significant casualties with weapons that do not require specialized knowledge, access, or training. c Additionally, foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) continue to express their intent related to attacking mass gatherings, landmarks, and critical infrastructure present in the National Capital Region (NCR ).

Since the incident at the US Capitol on 6 January, Russian, Iranian, and Chinese influence actors have seized the opportunity to amplify narratives in furtherance of their policy interest amid the presidential transition . We have not identified any specific, credible information indicating that these actors intend to explicitly commit violence . Furthermore, we have not identified any specific, credible cyber threat to critical infrastructure supporting the upcoming Presidential Inauguration nor a specific credible cyber threat to military or law enforcement personnel supporting the event.

Russian state and proxy media outlets have amplified themes related to the violent and chaotic nature of the Capitol Hill incident, impeachment of PresidentTrump, and social media censorship In at least one instance, a Russian proxy claimed that ANTIFA members disguised themselves as supporters ofPresident Trump, and were responsible for storming the Capitol building .

Unauthorized unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations can disrupt law enforcement operations at the 59th Presidential Inauguration , present a hazard to civilians around the event , or delay the event’s proceedings, though we possess no specific , credible information indicating malicious actors have plans to use UAS to target the 59th Presidential Inauguration. We also continue to maintain awareness of threat reporting suggesting acts of violence directed at law enforcement officers , US Government officials, or bystanders at the 59th Presidential Inauguration. In addition to the recent events at the US Capitol,
in June 2020, law enforcement agencies and assisting partner agencies in the NCR observed individuals attempting to violently engage law enforcement officers and using incendiary devices such as fireworks and Molotov cocktails .

The known standing date of Inauguration Day conceivably offers DVEs more time to plan acts of violence and open source reports indicate calls to violent action ahead of or on Inauguration Day In particular, we are concerned about racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs), anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists, specifically militia extremists, and anarchist extremists targeting the events or perceived ideological opponents.

Full Report – Joint Threat Assessment for the 59th Presidential Inauguration (PDF)

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