Politics About 700 people expected for 'J6' rally, DHS official says
From al Qaeda to QAnon: How the Department of Homeland Security has had to evolve since 9/11
The current head of DHS and two of his predecessors reflect on how the agency has changed in 20 years, and whether it's up to fighting domestic extremism.Twenty years after the attacks, DHS is now the third largest federal agency, with nearly 230,000 employees, and is most visible for its role in enforcing immigration laws at the southern border.
Roughly 700 people are expected to attend the "Justice for J6" rally on Saturday, according to an official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Pro-Trump protesters have plans to travel to Washington, D.C., this weekend to attend the rally, which is being held in support of people who were charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, .
DHS expects that a number of demonstrators connected to the groups that stormed the Capitol will return for Saturday's event.
The department, however, says that the expected crowd will likely be far less than the thousands of protesters who flocked to the nation's capital at the beginning of the year.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas: 20 years after 9/11, the fight for safety includes divisiveness at home
Some Americans are motivated to inflict harm here. We will not forget that protecting America means defending the principles on which it was founded. Terry Strada: 20 years later, will Biden reveal Saudi terror complicity to 9/11 families like mine? In the coming months, the seedling on the grounds of the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters will become a new, beautiful Callery pear tree. It will produce seedlings that we will distribute to other destinations of remembrance, tribute, and honor. The trees that grow will symbolize the enduring strength of the democracy that is America.
Melissa Smislova, the deputy undersecretary for intelligence enterprise readiness at DHS, said during Tuesday's Homeland Security Enterprise Forum that the department has been tracking publicly available information on protesters, permit applications for large gatherings with the U.S. Park Police and hotel reservations to gauge how many protesters are expected to attend the rally, according to NBC News.
Smislova also said that DHS has learned through social media posts that similar demonstrations are set to take place in other cities throughout the country, according to NBC.
Law enforcement agencies have been increasingly vigilant in preparing for Saturday's rally, hopinh to avoid the conditions that allowed the riot to happen on Jan. 6.
Social Media Chatter Around Capitol Rioter Protest Includes Targeting Lawmakers: DHS
Rally organizers said that rally is meant to be a show of support for "political prisoners," referring to people jailed in connection with the riots on Jan. 6.More than 600 people have been charged so far in connection to the January riot and around 60 people are being kept behind bars. The DHS report said that some social media posts mentioned possibly storming the Capitol again on Friday night, while one poster "commented on kidnapping an identified member of Congress." The document did not provide the name of the identified lawmaker, the AP reported.
Smislova said the department has been more proactive when it comes to sharing intelligence with law enforcement in advance of potentially violent events, something that she said the department was "a little bit lax" with before Jan. 6.
"What we realized after January 6 is that we had gotten a little bit lax in some of the aggressive conversations," Smislova said, referring to DHS's bi-weekly calls and communication with state and local law enforcement about threats in their regions, according to NBC News.
"Some of it was a lack of discipline, complacency maybe even ... The information was still out there, but you had to actually seek it out as opposed to having it brought to you," she added.
She also said DHS believes the events of Jan. 6 were a "failure on our part" to connect with the department and other agencies, NBC News reported.
The Capitol Police confirmed on Monday that the fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol building "a day or two before" the scheduled rally.
The Capitol Police board has also issued an emergency declaration, which allows the force to deputize outside law enforcement as "special" Capitol Police officers during the rally.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told The Hill last week that the department is , and will have an increased presence around the city and be prepared to shut down streets if needed.
Police say they're ready for rally supporting Jan. 6 rioters .
WASHINGTON (AP) — The fence around the Capitol is back up. The D.C. police department is at the ready, and U.S. Capitol Police have requested assistance from nearby law enforcement agencies including the U.S. WASHINGTON (AP) — The fence around the Capitol is back up. The D.C. police department is at the ready, and U.S. Capitol Police have requested assistance from nearby law enforcement agencies including the U.S. National Guard.