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DHS warns of potential for violence surrounding the ‘Justice for J6’ rally in intelligence brief

By Geneva Sands, CNN

The Department of Homeland Security warned Thursday about the potential for violence from people involved in or opposed to the “Justice for J6” rally planned for Saturday, according to an unclassified intelligence briefing that was shared with state and local authorities and obtained by CNN.

The memo also warned of potential violence on the day before the rally.

“We are aware of a small number of recent online threats of violence referencing the planned rally, including online discussions encouraging violence the day before the rally,” the brief from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis says.

Although the department believes some people may engage in violence, they don’t have indications of a specific or credible plot associated with the event.

The intelligence warning is part of an information-sharing effort due to the anticipated participation of individuals coming to the nation’s capital, as well as the fact that the same organizer has planned similar rallies in 15 other states over the next month.

DHS also warned that lone offenders and small groups of individuals can “mobilize to violence with little-to-no warning, particularly in response to confrontational encounters with perceived opponents or calls for escalation by key influencers.”

Officials have raised concerns that opposing groups at the rally present another concern for violence.

The intelligence brief notes that event organizers have indicated that they have received “death threats” from those opposed to the rally.

“A counter-rally is scheduled to take place on the same day at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, heightening the potential for violence between perceived ideological opponents,” it reads.

An extra challenge for law enforcement is the likely use of encrypted or closed communication platforms by those seeking to commit violence, according to the brief.

According to DHS, in early September, social media users discussed storming the US Capitol on the night before the rally, and one user commented on kidnapping an identified member of Congress.

Other social media references to violence include discussions of using the rally to target local Jewish institutions, elected officials and “liberal churches.”

Additionally, there are conflicting media reports indicating some members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers may attend the “Justice for J6” rally, according to the brief, which points out that several members of these groups were arrested for crimes they allegedly committed during the Capitol breach on January 6, including violent assaults on law enforcement.

The lawyer representing the family of Ashli Babbitt, who died while participating in the Capitol riot, was also invited to speak but has yet to confirm attendance, according to the brief.

“Some domestic violent extremists have promoted Babbitt as a martyr and have used her death to advocate for violence,” it says.

This story has been updated.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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