Officials have not identified “specific, credible threats” ahead of Inauguration Day, a top homeland security official said Friday.
“There’s no specific credible threats at this point in time. There’s just this raised level of tension. And so we’re raising our security level. And we’re doing it across the country,” Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Vice President Mike Pence in a briefing on Thursday that the bureau was seeing an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter” of potential threats before and during the inauguration.
“We’re concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protests and rallies planned here in D.C. and in state capitols around the country in the days that come that could bring armed individuals within close proximity to government facilities and officials,” Wray said.
Security fencing surrounds the White House in Washington on Jan. 14, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
National Guard soldiers maintain a watch over the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 14, 2021. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Cuccinelli, who was at the briefing, said he agreed “there is a good deal of online chatter” regarding both Washington and state capitols, though no specific state capitols have been mentioned or identified.
At this point in time, officials are not raising the terrorism threat level, but are taking a number of actions to try to be ready if a threat does manifest.
“We’ve prepared our own civilian law enforcement around the country to be ready to assist state and local allies to the extent they call on us to do so. We are prepositioning people on alert statuses around the country so that we can respond more quickly,” said Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general.
During a separate appearance on Fox News’ “Mornings with Maria,” Cuccinelli said officials expect “a safe, smooth inauguration, and nothing has happened to change that,” including the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“While it has raised attention to the security around the inauguration, this planning has been going on across the U.S. Government with state and local partners since last May. It is a very secure event. We are prepared for orders of magnitude or sorts of problems that happened on January 6th, and that was before January 6th,” he said. “So America can be very confident this is going to be a safe, smooth inauguration and transition of power.”