“There has to be a way to get information on the leftist politicians,” an anonymous user wrote on a message board Jan. 8, two days after a pro-Trump mob assaulted the Capitol. “Their addresses, driving routes, etc.”
The user, who was responding to a thread about an upcoming march in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, had a clear message: “It would be much more healing for the nation if there were targeted assassinations.”
Those messages, and thousands more like them, have been swept up into raw intelligence reports created by the Department of Homeland Security, becoming part of an avalanche of material law enforcement has to sift through when determining potential threats.
Yahoo News has obtained more than half a dozen intelligence reports detailing some of the social media threats being evaluated. The reports make clear the gravity of the threat facing law enforcement in the weeks ahead, but also the difficulty in trying to determine which threats are of serious concern and which may simply be online bravado.
“We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter about a number of events surrounding the inauguration,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a press conference Thursday.
“As you can imagine the volume of information is significant, but we’ve been pushing this information as rapidly as possible to all of our relevant law enforcement and intelligence partners,” Wray said.
The open-source intelligence reports obtained by Yahoo News detail some of the potential threats Wray mentioned. These reports, produced by the Department of Homeland Security, contain raw intelligence, the type of online chatter flagged as a potential threat to the inauguration or Capitol. They include social media posts urging others to assassinate Democratic lawmakers, build improvised explosive devices and use sniper rifles to kill law enforcement members stationed around the Capitol on Inauguration Day.