Social Media Hack and FBI Bulletin Leak Reveal Plans For Armed Protests Beginning This Weekend At The State Capitol.
Photo: Tennessee State Capitol Building in Nashville, Tennessee
Photo Credit : Michael Rivera
Most Tennessee residents are no strangers to public, political demonstration whether having borne witness to an event occurring close to home or something on the news.
Over the course of the last year, we have seen invocation of First Amendment rights countless times as citizens exercised their privilege to protest.
Some of these occasions resulted in escalating violence, looting, and general chaos.
Since summer ended and temperatures dropped, these demonstrations have dwindled despite many open charges and court cases remaining as a result. Hamilton County and quite a few others around the state saw primarily peaceful protests compared to the rest of the nation, but isolated incidents of escalation absolutely occurred.
A peaceful holiday season may have felt out of reach to many in the middle of a pandemic, but the weeks following have been equally unprecedented. Rioting at the Capitol has brought a significant amount of national attention to Tennessee as the identities of many of those involved are steadily revealed.
In addition to the FBI’s inquiries and investigations into such individuals as a response to the events at the Capitol, a recent and equally unprecedented event occurred in the virtual world.
A social media platform known as Parler, was hacked by so-called “internet warriors” who managed to gain administrative authority they used to access and archive all posts and profiles related to the pro-Trump movement.
This information has been released to the FBI and includes not only private posts that people may have thought were deleted but also photocopies of government identification for each user that was collected with the purpose of verifying profiles on the platform.
A breach of privacy to this degree and its instantaneous assumption of ownership as well as use by the FBI has revealed plans for pro-Trump protests were not and have not been limited to what occurred at the Capitol.
Individuals who are interested in supporting the movement prior to inauguration may still find opportunity.
An FBI bulletin that was recently leaked to reporters stated that as of January 8th they received information indicating, “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January… This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump…” Law enforcement have yet to make an official statement regarding this bulletin.
Tennessee’s senators have spoken out against the violence at the Capitol, however, they have also supported voter fraud allegations and the overturning of electoral votes in battleground states. As a lawmaker, Blackburn took an active part in organizing protestors at the Tennessee state capitol in 2001 to stand together against an income tax proposal. This event resulted in some vandalism to the state capitol building.
Several states have begun instituting extra security measures in anticipation of these alleged plans for protest of the inauguration. Tennessee representatives have not made open statements in response to this information. As the acting head of Homeland Security steps down, Trump has issued an emergency executive order supporting law enforcement responses to these threats.
With events planned across the country beginning as early as this weekend, we will keep our eyes on the state capitol and keep you as up-to-date as possible on inaugural demonstration development. Stay tuned.