ProPublica: Insurrectionists made no effort to hide their intentions, but law enforcement protecting Congress was caught flat-footed. “This story is part of an ongoing collaboration between ProPublica and FRONTLINE that includes an upcoming documentary. The invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was stoked in plain sight. For weeks, the far-right supporters of President Donald Trump railed on social media that the election had been stolen. They openly discussed the idea of violent protest on the day Congress met to certify the result. “We came up with the idea to occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,” leaders of the Stop the Steal movement wrote on Dec. 23. They called their Wednesday demonstration the Wild Protest, a name taken from a tweet by Trump that encouraged his supporters to take their grievances to the streets of Washington. “Will be wild,” the president tweeted. Ali Alexander, the founder of the movement, encouraged people to bring tents and sleeping bags and avoid wearing masks for the event. “If D.C. escalates… so do we,” Alexander wrote on Parler last week — one of scores of social media posts welcoming violence that were reviewed by ProPublica in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s attack on the capitol. Thousands of people heeded that call. For reasons that remained unclear Wednesday night, the law enforcement authorities charged with protecting the nation’s entire legislative branch — nearly all of the 535 members of Congress gathered in a joint session, along with Vice President Mike Pence — were ill-prepared to contain the forces massed against them…”
- See also Washington Post Timeline – How pro-Trump insurrectionists broke into the U.S. Capitol
- See also The Verge – Online researchers scramble to identify Capitol raid participants. A number of groups have begun archiving footage from the attack. “There’s so much available footage of the rally that simply collecting it has proven to be a challenge. Since the attack began, the open-source intelligence outlet Bellingcat has been collecting first-hand media from the attack, a process they opened up to volunteers as a Google sheet when the severe scale of the attack became clear. There are now more than 100 videos and a dozen full-length live streams in the spreadsheet, all ruthlessly monitored for duplicates and any identifiable faces….”
- See also The New York Times – The storming of Capitol Hill was organized on social media.
- See also Fast Company – How years of online misinformation erupted into real-world insurrection “On social networks, a toxic stew of lies simmered for years—until the president’s supporters responded with violent action at the U.S. Capitol.”