An FBI intelligence analyst warned days after the 2020 election that Stop the Steal rallies — one of which metastasized into the ransacking of the Capitol — could turn violent.
The emailed warning from an analyst at the FBI’s school for bomb technicians circulated through the Bureau and to some of its state and local partners on Nov. 9, 2020, just days after the major TV networks called the election for now-President Joe Biden. Its subject line was simple: “Far-Right Chatter re Election Results.”
“As Joe Biden is declared the victor in the 2020 Presidential Campaign, chatter from the far-right indicates the belief the election was stolen from President Trump,” the FBI analyst wrote, then urging recipients to “keep your head on a swivel.”
The FBI analyst’s message, which has not been previously published and was obtained by the watchdog group Property of the People, indicates that federal law enforcement officials saw ample signs before Jan. 6 that right-wing efforts to overturn the election results could result in violence. FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified before Congress that the Bureau tracked the threat from domestic extremists in the months before the attack on the Capitol, and the email gives new detail on what the FBI was watching. When the email went out, prominent officials and leaders in the conservative movement were promoting the #StopTheSteal hashtag.