FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono’s Remarks at Press Briefing Regarding Violence at U.S. Capitol
FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono delivered the following remarks during a press briefing at the Department of Justice regarding the January 6, 2021, violent activity at the U.S. Capitol. Remarks prepared for delivery.
Good afternoon. I’m here to provide a quick update on the FBI’s activities since the violence and destruction at the Capitol last week.
The FBI is quite familiar with large-scale, complex, and fast-moving investigations. We are up to the challenge. As Director Wray says, “The FBI does not do easy.”
To be clear, the brutality the American people watched with shock and disbelief on the 6th will not be tolerated by the FBI. The men and women of the FBI will leave no stone unturned in this investigation.
Since these events, the FBI has worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners here in D.C. and across the country to arrest and charge multiple individuals who took part in the destruction. In six days, we have opened over 170 case files—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The significance of this investigation is not lost on us. This is a 24/7, full-bore, extensive operation into what happened that day.
We cannot do our job without the help of the American people. Since our call for tips, videos, and pictures, we have received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media—which is absolutely fantastic—and are scouring every one for investigative and intelligence leads. We continue to ask for more. If you have information, contact 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit photos and videos to fbi.gov/USCapitol—that’s Capitol with an O.
I want to stress that the FBI has a long memory and a broad reach. Agents and our partners are on the streets investigating leads not only here in the D.C. area, but also across the country through the FBI’s 56 field offices. So even if you’ve left D.C., agents from of our local offices will be knocking on your door if we find out that you were part of criminal activity at the Capitol. Before we do, this is your opportunity to come forward, as several individuals who were involved in Wednesday’s riots have done, to volunteer information about their participation.
In the weeks leading up to the January 6 rally, the FBI worked internally with every FBI field office to ensure they were looking for any intelligence they may have developed about potential violence during the rally on January 6. We developed some intelligence that a number of individuals were planning to travel to the D.C. area with intentions to cause violence.
We immediately shared that information and action was taken, as demonstrated by the arrest of Enrique Tarrio by the Metropolitan Police Department the night before the rally. Other individuals were identified in other parts of the country and their travel subsequently disrupted.
The FBI receives enormous amounts of information and intelligence, and our job is to determine the credibility and viability of it, under the laws and policies that govern FBI investigations. We have to separate the aspirational from the intentional and determine which of the individuals saying despicable things on the internet are just practicing keyboard bravado or they actually have the intent to do harm. If the latter, we work diligently to identify them and prevent them from doing so.
As offensive as a statement can be, the FBI cannot open an investigation without a threat of violence or alleged criminal activity. However, when that language does turn to a call for violence or criminal activity, the FBI is able to undertake investigative action.
Part and parcel of our investigation into violent actors is the fact we continue to gather intelligence that will aid in our ability to disrupt possible future violent activity.
Suffice it to say, we are leveraging our relationships with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, using all tools at our disposal to find and bring everyone involved in last week’s criminal activity to justice.