FBI has opened more than 160 investigations against Capitol Hill rioters: Officials
The FBI has opened more than 160 investigations against the January 6 Capitol Hill rioters, officials said, and asserted this is just the tip of the iceberg
The FBI has opened more than 160 investigations against the January 6 Capitol Hill rioters, officials said, and asserted this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The agency has worked hand-in-hand with the United States Attorney's Office and law enforcement partners in DC and across the country to arrest and charge multiple individuals who took part in last week's breach of the US Capitol, FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director In-Charge Steven M D'Antuono told reporters at a news conference.
"In six days, we have opened over 160 case files, and that's just the tip of the iceberg," he said, adding the FBI has received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media.
D'Antuono said the FBI will be knocking on the doors of the people who participated in the attack on the Capitol. "But before we do this, this is your opportunity to come forward as several individuals involved in Wednesday's riots have done," he added.
In the weeks leading up to the January 6 rally, the FBI, D'Antuono said, developed some intelligence that a number of individuals were planning to travel to the DC area with intentions to cause violence.
This was immediately shared and action was taken as demonstrated by the arrest of Enrique Tario by the Metropolitan Police Department the night before the rally, he said.
Other individuals were identified in other parts of the country and their travel subsequently disrupted, D'Antuono noted.
Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, said the scope and scale of the investigation in these cases are really unprecedented not only in FBI history but also probably in the history of the Department of Justice in which the Capitol grounds outside and inside are essentially crime scenes.
"And a scale in which we have literally thousands of potential witnesses and a scenario in which we are going to have, I believe, hundreds of criminal cases both filed with our local courts, our superior courts, and through the federal court system," he said, noting this is going to be a long-term investigation.
Sherwin said as many as 170 cases of investigations have already been opened. "And I anticipate that's going to grow to the hundreds in the coming weeks," he said.
Federal prosecutors, he said, are looking at everything from simple trespass to theft of mail and digital devices inside the Capitol to assault on local and federal officers, both outside and inside the Capitol, and also theft of potential national security information or national defence information, felony murder and even civil rights excessive force investigations.
Sherwin said that two pipe bombs were found outside the RNC and the DNC offices near the Capitol grounds. "They were real devices. They had explosive ignitors. They had timers. We don't know exactly why they did not go off. That's being investigated. They were destroyed, disabled by Capitol Police with the assistance of the ATF, and that is all obviously being vetted and investigated," he said.
The FBI has announced a reward of USD 5,000 for any information leading to identification of the individual or individuals that left the pipe bombs.