Photo: Virginia National Guard, Creative Commons license 2.0

Remember back during the summer's Black Lives Matter protests, when we worried about those mystery federal copsoldiers patrolling Washington DC with no identifying badges or name tags? If the federal cops wouldn't identify themselves, many wondered, what would prevent some militia yahoos from showing up and pretending to be militarized cops, for purposes of mayhem? A version of that quandary is now a worry in security preparations for Joe Biden's inauguration tomorrow, as the Washington Post reports. The FBI briefed law enforcement yesterday that rightwing extremists have been talking about pretending to be members of the National Guard, in hopes of infiltrating the inaugural.

On top of worries about an "insider attack" by Q-tainted soldiers, we can now add the possibility that a bunch of cosplay militia might try to make their way among the real troops. Even if nothing comes of it, that has to have members of the Guard on edge. Here's hoping nobody from the Virginia Guard arrests a member of the Minnesota Guard for talking weird, don't ya know? Or far worse.


The Post's story is based on an "intelligence report" on the briefing, which summarized threats the FBI went over at the briefing and warned — no big spoilers here — that some of the same people who attacked the Capitol two weeks ago are planning to return to Washington to try to disrupt the inauguration, including QAnon cultists and "lone wolves" (a dubious category, really) infected with Trumpist bullshit.

Good news, of a sort: The briefing

did not identify any specific plots to attack the inaugural events that would be akin to the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol and noted that "numerous" militia and extremist groups are publicly denouncing any violence targeted at the transition of presidential power.

While the FBI has picked up "suspicious traffic" in monitoring the kinds of communication systems used by some participants in the Capitol siege, it includes "nothing that points to any specific action."

That might be reassuring, or it may mean people who are seriously bent on violence are better at hiding their communications than the average Q roleplay commando. As for militia leaders' "condemnations" of violent actions, we'd hope the FBI knows those have more to do with fundraising than any dreams of saving America from radical socialist Joe Biden.

The WaPo story is also noteworthy, perhaps, for this line:

The Post is withholding some details outlined in the intelligence report at the request of the FBI to avoid revealing intelligence-gathering methods or specific security vulnerabilities.

That seems entirely reasonable considering these goons' stated desire to lynch people they think prevented Donald Trump from remaining God-Emperor. But if the FBI has good sources of intelligence inside the seditionist cosplay community, the failure of other law enforcement to make use of that information before the Capitol attack is damning, all over again.

So what are the would-be domestic terrorists chattering about?

"QAnon members have discussed posing as National Guard soldiers, believing that it would be easy for them to infiltrate secure areas," according to the document, which added that members have been crowdsourcing images to surveil the security perimeter. [...]

Potential impostors could possess U.S. military uniforms through a number of means, including prior military service and surplus stores.

If any of the militia LARPers do try to blend in, they'll have to leave behind some of their most outrageous and expensive tacticool equipment if they want to pass as ordinary GI's. They'll face the difficult choice between their insane "mission" and showing off their customized body armor and Punisher stickers, and Crom only knows how many can give that up.

Guard members deployed to the DC area have also been told to keep an eye out for fuckery, according to an anonymous defense official who spoke to the Post and acknowledged that

National Guard members have been warned to watch for anyone in uniform who looks like they are out of place. It was not clear if that was specially because of concerns about QAnon or if other insider threats also may have caused concern. [...]

The D.C. National Guard is instructing troops serving during the inauguration in Washington to tell their commanders if they "see or hear something that is not appropriate" or out of place, said Capt. Chelsi B. Johnson, a National Guard spokeswoman.

The story also notes that the FBI is keeping an eye on people "downloading and sharing maps of sensitive locations in Washington and discussing how those facilities could be used to interfere in security during the inauguration," as well as "surveillance of law enforcement's security preparations" in the area:

According to the report, National Guard soldiers have reported seeing several individuals photographing and recording their work. Some of those videos have been uploaded online, the FBI report said. [...]

It is unclear if such efforts are the work of individuals aiming to disrupt the inauguration, or merely curious passersby documenting the fortress that has sprung up across downtown.

Probably doesn't hurt to assume the worst, though we can certainly understand that people would want to get photos of the armed camp Donald Trump's lies have made necessary. Please do not send Uncle Wally to Gitmo because he wants to document all this craziness.

One more day of Trump, kids. And then Crom only knows how many months or years of wingnuts trying to stage uprisings to put Dear Leader back in power for the next thousand years.

[WaPo / Photo: Virginia National Guard, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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