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Feds on high alert Thursday after warnings about potential threats to US Capitol

March 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 27.9%. 2 min read.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09: The U.S. Capitol is shown as members of the U.S. Senate listen to opening arguments from House impeachment managers and attorneys representing former U.S. President Donald Trump February 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. House impeachment managers opened their case against Trump in the trial's first day, culminating with a 56-44 vote on whether or not the trial could proceed on constitutional grounds. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Federal law enforcement is on high alert Thursday in the wake of an intelligence bulletin issued earlier this week about a group of violent militia extremists having discussed plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4 -- a date when some conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will be returning to the presidency.

Washington (CNN)Federal law enforcement is on high alert Thursday in the wake of an intelligence bulletin issued earlier this week about a group of violent militia extremists having discussed plans to take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4 -- a date when some conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will be returning to the presidency.

DHS held a call Wednesday with state and local law enforcement officials from around the country to discuss current threats posed by domestic extremists, including concerns about potential violence surrounding March 4 and beyond, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

While specific details from the call remain unclear, both sources said the overarching message from DHS officials is that addressing threats posed by domestic extremists requires increased communication and intelligence sharing across federal and state and local entities, as well as a shift in how law enforcement officials interpret the information they receive.

In a clear sign federal agencies are working to avoid the same communication failures for which they have been roundly criticized since the Capitol attack, DHS officials are stressing that law enforcement should not view intelligence solely through the lens of whether a threat qualifies as "credible and specific," but use the warnings coming from DHS, FBI and other partner agencies to inform decisions about their security posture, even if the information provided falls short of pointing to an imminent attack or violence, the sources said.

Federal officials are emphasizing the point that gaps in intelligence sharing left law enforcement unprepared for the chaos that unfolded on January 6, even though they were notified of potential violence days before the attack, and that going forward, bulletins issued by DHS and FBI indicate a threat is serious enough to be communicated to relevant entities, even if the intelligence is based primarily on online chatter or other less definitive indicators, the sources said.

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